Is Bank of America Doing Something Right?

Does Bank of America's CEO's pay reflect something right at the bank?

Matt Koppenheffer
Matt Koppenheffer
Feb 21, 2012 at 12:00AM
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On Friday, SEC filings revealed that Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) handed CEO Brian Moynihan stock awards worth nearly $6 million. That's a number that might leave a sour taste in some investors' mouths after they watched B of A's stock plummet 58% in 2011.

In fact, looking across the banking world at major competitors like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), it's clear that B of A clearly had the worst year.

Bank of America Corporation Stock Chart

Bank of America Corporation Stock Chart by YCharts

Consider, though, that even after adding in Moynihan's nearly $1 million salary, his pay will still probably pale in comparison with those at other banks whose stocks fell. In 2010, Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein took home $18.6 million in total pay and JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon was paid a cool $23 million. Their compensation for 2011 should be higher if anything, particularly as both got salary raises. (Blankfein's base salary more than tripled!)

And while Citigroup's Vikram Pandit took home just one single dollar in 2010, the board "forced" him to take a $1.75 million salary in 2011 and will consider him for performance awards. And it's not as if others at Citi didn't get paid well. The company's CEO of consumer banking took home more than $10 million in 2010, which is considerably more than the CEO of all of Bank of America.

In addition to the fact that Moynihan's pay is comparatively low, it's also notable that the majority of the stock awards he just received aren't exercisable until at least 2015.

In no universe that I'm familiar with is $7 million or so in pay a bad outcome. But Bank of America has performed poorly as a company -- 2011 profit was 93% below 2006's -- and it's performed poorly as a stock. Perhaps Moynihan's pay should be even lower. Maybe much lower. But the fact that sub-par performance is leading to sub-par pay is at least a start.