Paychecks Got Bigger for Most U.S. Bank CEOs During Pandemic

The heads of most large U.S. banks saw their pay increase during the pandemic.

Among banks with more than $1 billion in assets, two-thirds of chief executive officers had an increase in compensation this year, according to a study by analysts at broker-dealer Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. The average bump was 26% for those who got a raise, the data showed.

CEOs at the biggest U.S. banks -- those lenders with more than $50 billion in assets -- had the smallest bump in pay, with an increase of 5.8%. Bank of America Corp.’s Brian Moynihan, Wells Fargo & Co.’s Charlie Scharf and U.S. Bancorp’s Andy Cecere all saw their compensation decline this year.

Banks set aside billions in reserves during the Covid-19 pandemic as unemployment soared, sparking fears that borrowers would begin to default on their loans. But wave after wave of government-stimulus payments largely prevented losses, allowing banks to begin releasing the reserves in recent quarters.

Capital One Financial Corp. CEO Richard Fairbank’s pay soared 161% to $20.1 million, the biggest jump among the largest U.S. banks, according to Janney, which based its study on summary compensation tables in regulatory filings. A portion of Fairbank’s 2019 compensation was paid out following that year, a change that increased his future pay.

Compensation for JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon rose just 0.2%, but he remains banking’s highest-paid CEO, making almost $32 million this year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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