Friday, July 31, 2009

Bank Bonuses

Yesterday New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo released some fairly damning numbers concerning $1 million bonuses handed out at banks that received TARP (your hard-earned) money. Here's a short synopsis of some of the bigger pigs. MS, GS, and JPM paid out bonuses that were greater than their profits for 2008!

Bank of America: 172

Bank of New York Mellon: 74

Citigroup: 738

Goldman Sachs: 953

JPMorgan Chase: 1,626

Merrill Lynch: 696

Morgan Stanley: 428

State Street: 44

Wells Fargo: 62

Check out this particularly troubling exerpt from the New York Times article:

At Morgan Stanley, for example, compensation last year was more than seven times as large as the bank’s profit. In 2004 and 2005, when the stock markets were doing well, Morgan Stanley spent only two times its profits on compensation.

Yet we still regard these banks as sophisticated investors? Hardly, they are big compensation schemes. I am aginst completely setting aside hundreds of years of contract law in order to claw back money, but this is obnoxious, tone deaf behavior. I have no problem with a self-supporting organization paying its employees whatever they'd like, but if Uncle Sam owns you, than that's different. You should at least pretend that you care about how this will look. The goverment owns a third fo Citigroup. Shouldn't it flex its muscles just a bit.

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