Banker's perks just get better

Bonuses may be under review, but gifts just keep coming

By Kim Peterson Oct 20, 2009 11:09AM
Escape the rat race © Ross Anania/PhotographerThe salary of banking executives is a sore point with, well, everyone, but the perks are just getting better.

Financial firms that received taxpayer bailout money boosted their executive perks about 4% on average last year, the Washington Post reports. Bosses that didn't quite get the bonus or salary they wanted had their ruffled feathers smoothed over with a nice country club membership.


Ken Lewis of Bank of America (BAC) and Jeffrey Peek of CIT Group (CIT), for example, each got an extra $100,000 in personal jet use over the year. 


And Comerica (CMA) chief Ralph Babb Jr. got a slick new country club membership that would normally have cost him $200,000.


The chief of GMAC Financial Services got a $2.5 million check to help him pay his personal taxes. That practice is going to stop, however. In June, the Treasury Department banned bailed-out companies from giving their executives tax money.


About half the banks increased their perks to top executives, the Post reports.


American Express (AXP) spent a nice chunk of money on its chief executive's personal life. It paid $415,000 for the chief's personal travel on the company jet, $201,000 for his home security system and $46,000 for security during personal trips.


Does the CEO of American Express really need a bodyguard when he vacations? The company apparently thinks so.


Many of these companies are backing off of the corporate perks now. GMAC doesn't use corporate aircraft at all now, the Post reports. SunTrust Banks (STI) has stopped paying country club memberships, but it has increased salaries to make up the difference.


And Bank of America won't let it's top executives take the company jet for personal travel any more. Guess they'll have to fly commercial when they want to frolic in the south of France. The horror!
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