If reports are correct, Bank of America
According to The Wall Street Journal, Merrill's "stratospheric pay culture" never got an adjustment, despite its fall from grace. The Journal reports that these new potential bonuses are intended to stem talent defections and reward Merrill's "recovery." The investing arm generated $2.2 billion in profits over the first three quarters of last year. However, much of that so-called "good performance" has probably owed more to luck -- or the past year's favorable market conditions -- than skill or brilliance. Besides, the last thing corporate America needs is more encouragement to view "performance" entirely in the short term.
Bank of America, Wells Fargo
Entitled attitudes are nothing new on Wall Street, alas. AIG
According to the WSJ, a Bank of America spokesperson warned against assumptions regarding the bonus amounts; the figures could change, and they must be approved by the company's board. Let's hope the board stands up to any nonsense in the payout numbers. After all, shareholders' ire over a previous round of fat executive bonuses at Merrill helped push former CEO Kenneth Lewis into retirement.
Our recent economic pain should have helped us all learn valuable lessons on honesty, responsibility, and restraint. Instead, there are plenty of signs that our massive bailout has simply enabled Wall Street to continue on its delusional, entitled way. I can only hope the rumors about bonus bonanzas at Merrill Lynch aren't true. By now, I'm guessing taxpayers and shareholders have begun to tire of their constant muggings at the hands of big banks.