John Stumpf, chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co., made more than any banker in America last year $22.87 million.
Stumpfs pay package, disclosed Thursday, was up 15 percent from 2011, an increase Wells said reflected the San Francisco-based banks strong performance. Wells earned $18.9 billion, up 19 percent from 2011, during a year in which big banks collectively turned in near-record profits.
The runner-up at $21 million a 75 percent increase was Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of New Yorks Goldman Sachs Group, whose pay has been notably lofty over the years.
In 2007, Blankfeins bonus alone was $67.9 million, an example of what critics called extravagant rewards for short-sighted risk-taking, a practice that helped cause the financial crisis.
If you get it all at once, you dont really care what happens down the line, said Paul Hodgson, an independent governance analyst. He said U.S. bank pay practices have improved since the crisis, but only slightly.
European banks such as UBS, HSBC and Barclays have begun pegging most of their CEO compensation to the banks performance five years into the future. And if anything untoward happens during those years, it disappears, Hodgson said.
At Wells Fargo, Stumpf has been less vulnerable to criticism because Wells is the only giant bank without major Wall Street operations. Wells, which has its East Coast headquarters in Charlotte, instead has built a reputation as an enormous community bank, taking deposits and making loans on Main Streets coast to coast. And it took fewer risks making home loans during the housing boom, enabling it to emerge as by far the biggest mortgage lender of the post-crisis era, despite sustaining substantial losses.
Stumpf made $19.84 million in 2011, $18.97 million in 2010 and $21.34 million in 2009 a record based on the banks stable growth in the face of the mortgage-related bumps and continuing criticism from advocates for distressed homeowners.
Charlotte-based Bank of America, by contrast, has paid dearly for its 2008 acquisition of high-risk lender Countrywide Financial Corp., suffering tens of billions of dollars in losses. Its chief executive, Brian Moynihan, received $12.1 million in 2012 compensation, up more than 70 percent, as directors decided he was getting Bank of America back on track. The companys stock rose 109 percent for the year.
By contrast, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimons compensation was sliced in half, from a pack-leading $23 million in 2011 to $11.5 million in 2012, despite the bank recording a record profit of $21.3 billion. Dimon was whacked by the board over the London whale debacle, in which errant derivatives trades cost the bank more than $6 billion.