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Bankers Even Obama Could Begrudge

Yesterday, everyone got worked up over President Obama’s comments to Business Week that he didn’t begrudge Chase CEO Jamie Dimon or Goldman Sach CEO Lloyd Blankfein their bonuses — despite the many reasons those bonuses aren’t as out-of-line as the headlines would have Americans believe. But are they the only financial-sector CEOs getting bonuses this year? Hardly, and there are plenty less deserving, according to The New York Times. Eric Dash notes that, as long as the CEO in question doesn’t appear near the top of a who’s who list on Wall Street, his bonus tends to fly under the media radar.

Case in point: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. His compensation for 2009 — if you count the bonus he got mid-year — will be around $24 million. Well Fargo’s profit for 2009, however, was $7.99 billion, far shy of Chase’s $11.7 billion or Goldman’s $13 billion profit last year. Unlike Chase and Goldman, Wells Fargo didn’t pay off its TARP money until the very end of 2009, just in time to free Stumpf from the strictures of executive compensation limits. And while Dimon and Blankfein didn’t get bonuses in 2008, Stumpf took home a cool $13.8 million on Wells Fargo’s $2.66 billion profit in that year, which was less than half of the profit seen under Dimon’s leadership at Chase in the same year.

Dash notes other executives that seem to be getting paid even as their companies continue to founder: Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman is set to get $11 to 13 million for 2009, even though his company posted an annual loss. Bank of America’s highest-paid executive this year is Gregory Curl, who got $9.2 million in stock even as his employer was coming to a deal to avoid prosecution over the acquisition of Merrill Lynch that he led. And Visa’s now-former president, Hans Morris, took home $24 million just for retiring in 2009.

Obviously, there’s only so much begrudging one President can do.

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