More than 160K workers at the Top 20 bailed-out financial institutions lost their jobs since Jan. 1, 2000, according to a report just released by the Institute for Policy Studies. That's pretty depressing news as the Labor Day weekend approaches.
That number includes lots of bank tellers who earned an average $24.2K in 2008 and loan clerks who were paid an average $33.7K. Citigroup ranks as the leader of the layoff pack, shedding 75K people, while Bank of America took second place "honors," chopping 36.2K heads.
Rounding out the top five are JPMorgan Chase (15.5K), American Express (11K) and PNC Financial Services (6.2K).
Bailed-out CEOs safely weathered the financial storm. Shed no tears for Citi's Vik Pandit, who vowed to accept only $1 a year in pay until the bank returns to long-term profitability footing. Vik's token salary was bolstered by other comp worth $38.2M. JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon took in a cool $35.7M while his bank axed staff.
The IPS report, called "America's Bailout Barons," found that the 20 top bailed-out firms took in $283B of the Troubled Asset Relief Program money. That's more than half of the $487.8B allocated for 650 troubled banks as of the beginning of August.
The 100 top officers at the Top 20 bailed-outs averaged a $32M total comp package. The average CEO salary of $13.8M tops the average $10.1M received by the head of an S&P 500 corporation.
IPS hopes its survey will spur congressional action to cap pay at bailed-out financial institutions. That's a pipe dream as IPS ruefully notes in its report. The Washington-based group believes President Obama and Congress missed the boat. "Both the White House and Congress, for a brief moment earlier this year, appeared on the verge of taking steps that might actually deflate the CEO pay bubble. But those steps have stalled," reads the report.
Obama is now taking a whack at healthcare reform. Let's hope he does better there than in bail-out comp.
The president must then figure out what to do in Afghanistan. Congress, facing re-election, is on the hook for campaign contributions from the financial sector. Capping pay is on the very very back burner.
It will be a happy Labor Day indeed for the Bailed-Out Barons of Wall Street.