AP Study Finds $1.6B Went to Bailed-Out Bank ExecsSubmitted by northstar on Sun, 12/21/2008 - 21:56
Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.
The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.
Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.
The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.
Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services committee and a long-standing critic of executive largesse, said the bonuses tallied by the AP review amount to a bribe ''to get them to do the jobs for which they are well paid in the first place.
''Most of us sign on to do jobs and we do them best we can,'' said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. ''We're told that some of the most highly paid people in executive positions are different. They need extra money to be motivated!''
The AP compiled total compensation based on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the findings:
--The average paid to each of the banks' top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.
--Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company's top five executives received a total of $242 million.