Bank Watch

Bank of America’s Moynihan defends his Boston residency

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan on Wednesday defended his practice of commuting from his home in Boston to the bank’s headquarters in Charlotte.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan on Wednesday defended his practice of commuting from his home in Boston to the bank’s headquarters in Charlotte. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan on Wednesday defended his decision to continue living in Boston since taking over the Charlotte-based bank in 2010.

The issue came up during the bank’s annual shareholders meeting in uptown Charlotte, when one investor told Moynihan his primary home in Boston was a concern “to myself and a number of other shareholders.”

“Largely because, as far as I can tell, no other CEO of a major bank has a personal residence that’s not in the same area as the corporate headquarters or at least in a major area like New York, where you have a lot of operations,” the shareholder said. He then asked Moynihan if he would commit to changing his residency to Charlotte or New York.

“No, sir,” said Moynihan, who then noted that he and other executives “are on the road a lot” to meet with employees and clients.

“My team is in multiple locations because that’s where our business operations are,” Moynihan said. “We have 15,000 people here in Charlotte. We have about the same in New York. We have a ton in San Francisco. We have 700 people in Tokyo.”

Moynihan told the shareholder the issue of where he resides is not relevant.

“If you question whether I work hard enough, I think the people here would tell you that I do,” the CEO said, adding that investments the bank has made in technology enable executives to stay in communication no matter where they are located.

During an appearance at Christ Church Charlotte last year, Moynihan, 56, said he’s back home in Boston on the weekends and at least one night a week.

Wednesday’s exchange underscores what has been a lingering concern for some Bank of America shareholders and some people in the Charlotte community since Moynihan was promoted to chief executive.

In and around Charlotte, Moynihan’s decision to live in Boston has stoked speculation that the bank might relocate its headquarters. Over the years, the bank has adamantly said it has no plans to make such a move.

Costs associated with Moynihan’s commuting between Boston and Charlotte make him rank highly among Fortune 100 executive officers who make personal use of corporate aircraft.

Moynihan was fifth among Fortune 100 executive officers based on the size of aircraft perks in 2014, according to the latest available data from compensation-research firm Equilar. Moynihan’s figure was $478,545 in 2014, when the cost hit its peak, but fell to $380,323 last year.

Although Bank of America says Moynihan reimburses it for the expense of his commuting, the bank says he does not reimburse for the cost to fly an empty aircraft to a hangar in another city. Those costs are what Moynihan’s ranking among Fortune 100 execs is based on.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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