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CEOs aren't alone bringing home giant paychecks from the nation's big banks. Less-recognized executives at these banks are also making major bank, outstripping the pay of CEOs of even some rival financial institutions.
Half of the 10 best-paid executives at the nation's banks in the Standard & Poor's 500 aren't the chief executive officers of their companies. They include JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chief Operating Officer Matthew Zames, Bank of America (BAC) COO Thomas Montag and Mary Callahan Erdoes, who is the chief of the asset management unit of JPMorgan Chase, according to a USA TODAY analysis of 2015 compensation data from the banks' most recent filings. Bank of America's Montag out-earned his own bank's CEO (Brian Moynihan) and that of Citigroup (C) as well (Michael Corbat).
All told, 17 named non-CEO executives at the 17 banks in the S&P 500 raked in more than the median $8 million that CEOs at those same banks got. Named executives include heads of major bank divisions, chief operating officers and chief financial officers.
"One thing this tells us is that bank pay is not measured against the right performance metrics," says Eleanor Bloxham, chief executive officer of The Value Alliance, a firm that specializes in corporate finance. These large paychecks to named officers are paid without them incurring the same responsibility as CEOs, and that provides the incentive to take on additional risk, she says.
Understanding that fat paychecks at banks go beyond just the CEOs became more important this week as Congress looked into the incentives of executives at Wells Fargo (WFC), which is accused of secretly opening millions of accounts for customers. Carrie Tolstedt, head of Wells Fargo's community banking unit at the center of the alleged fraud, was paid $9.1 million last year, which is more than the pay of eight of the 17 CEOs at S&P 500 banks. She also owns Wells Fargo shares valued at $43 million, says S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The financial sector has a history of paying large compensation packages to top executives well beyond just the CEO. Three of the companies with the highest average pay for named executive officers between 2012 and 2014 were Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS) and JPMorgan Chase, according to an analysis by pay-tracking firm Equilar.
That's not to say that bank CEOs aren't paid well themselves. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon were the best-paid bankers last year, hauling in $19.3 million and $18.2 million, respectively. That's well above the median $10.8 million paid to S&P 500 CEOs last year.
But adding in the next five best-paid named bank executives, none of whom are CEOs, add up to a total haul of $120 million. Looks like you don't have to be CEO to make bank.