Banks may have gotten hammered this year in the stock market, but the CEOs who run them are doing just fine.
While the nation's biggest financial institutions saw their market capitalization drop by an average of 11.1 percent, bank CEO compensation averaged $7.74 million, according to calculations by Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove.
That means the banking heads earned 50 to 100 times the average worker and did much better than their shareholders, who saw bank stocks as a group plunge about 26 percent this year.
Take JPMorgan Chase . The Wall Street titan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, will earn just shy of $42 million this year for a bank that lost nearly a quarter of its market cap—or 23 percent—during the year, according to Bove's numbers.
There's also Bank of America head Brian T. Moynihan, who will earn a comparatively small $2.26 million this year while his bank's market value dropped 60 percent — the worst in Rochdale's study.
Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein's compensation was $21.7 million, while the investment bank he runs lost 46.4 percent of its market cap.
Bove concedes his numbers may not be perfect — computing CEO pay "is, in fact, rocket science," he said — but believes the numbers to be accurate as they rely on base pay combined with various other stock and option benefits the bank chiefs receive. He formulated the numbers in conjunction with SNL Securities and a private consultant.
Bank executive pay has been a hot issue ever since the financial crisisexploded in 2008 and Wall Street's biggest names — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual among them — began disappearing. Protests such as Occupy Wall Streethave bemoaned how much CEOs and other financial sector leaders have made despite the damage banks caused to the economy and financial markets.
As they have tried to shed debtand recover their footing, the banks lost share price and, consequently, market cap — shares outstanding multiplied by share price — even though the companies' earnings have been relatively strong.
"The divergence between the earnings and stock price performance reflects the fact that psychology related to the industry is far more important than the fundamentals," Bove said in a research note. "These companies simply have no credibility. This is expected to change in 2012. In 2012, both earnings and stock prices are expected to rise, but this is another subject."
The lowest-paid of the 23 CEOs was Capital One's Richard D. Fairbanks at $100,637 at a company that lost just 2 percent of market cap. The best-performing of the group, US Bancorp , paid CEO Richard K. Davis $7.32 million as the bank slipped just 0.3 percent.
Bove said he plans to continue examining the issue, with his attention next turning to how the compensation methods drive policy for the CEOs.
An earlier version of this story overstated Jefferies CEO Richard Handler's salary. On a recent conference call, Handler said he did not take his bonus for 2011.