Attorney General Andrew Cuomo released a report on bank bonuses, which he had previously sent to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Eldophus Towns, yesterday, and in it, Cuomo continued to criticize Wall Street's compensation methods. The Wall Street Journal says the report gives a "rare window into the pay culture" of Wall Street:
Nine banks that received government aid money paid out bonuses of nearly $33 billion last year -- including more than $1 million apiece to nearly 5,000 employees -- despite huge losses that plunged the U.S. into economic turmoil...
Six of the nine banks paid out more in bonuses than they received in profit...
Overall compensation and benefits at the nine banks fell 11%, to $133.5 billion in 2008 from $149.3 billion in 2007, the Cuomo report said. But with net revenues falling, the percentage of the firms' revenues dedicated to compensation rose to 45% last year from 41% in 2007.
The report also drills down how much banks got; per the NY Times, "At Goldman Sachs, for example, bonuses of more than $1 million went to 953 traders and bankers, and Morgan Stanley awarded seven-figure bonuses to 428 employees," while the AP notes, "Bank of America, which also received $45 billion in TARP money, paid $3.3 billion in bonuses, with 172 employees receiving at least $1 million and the top four recipients receiving a combined $64 million. Merrill Lynch, which Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America acquired during the credit crisis, paid out $3.6 billion, including a combined $121 million to four top employees."
Noting how the government bailed out many banks, Cuomo wrote in the report, "There is no clear rhyme or reason to the way banks compensate and reward their employees...When the banks did well, their employees were paid well. When the banks did poorly, their employees were paid well. And when the banks did very poorly, they were bailed out by taxpayers and their employees were still paid well."
Today, the House is set to vote on whether to curb Wall Street pay.