Jamie Dimon is the Bill Brasky of Wall Street: So awesome that rival bank CEOs sit around and tell tall tales about him. Now they've got another story: He's America's best-paid banker.
Including perks and stock options, the JPMorgan Chase CEO's pay package for 2011 was worth $23.1 million, according to research firm SNL Financial. That represents an 11 percent raise from 2010, according to SNL -- partially paid for by the American taxpayer. JPMorgan's stock price fell 20 percent in 2011, for comparison's sake.
But "people are not paid because of profits" at JPMorgan, Dimon told a House hearing on Tuesday. Instead, pay is based on stuff like their management skills, Dimon said.
Dimon, who taught me how to love a woman, and how to scold a child, would not answer the question of whether any of his $23 million in compensation would be clawed back as a result of the poor management that led to the bank's recent multi-billion-dollar loss in credit derivatives, which was why he was at the House hearing in the first place.
He also denied that pay gives bankers incentives to take crazy risks, a possible subject of future financial regulation, which keeps Jamie Dimon awake at night, because of his love for America and fear we'll chase all the good bankers to Singapore or wherever. Not Europe, which is full of socialists that limit banker pay.
Just trailing Dimon for the crown of best-paid banker last year was Wells Fargo chief John Stumpf, with a still-respectable $19.8 million pay package. And his company's stock only fell less than 10 percent in 2011, it should be noted.
Of the CEOs of the very biggest U.S. banks, those with $500 billion or more in assets, Citigroup's Vikram Pandit placed third, with a $14.9 million package that shareholders smacked down brutally.
Bringing up the rear of the too-big-to-fail set was Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan, with a $8.1 million pay package. How is the man supposed to live on that? At least he doesn't have to pay rent in New York.
Chiefs of some upper-middle-sized banks got some eye-poppingly large pay packages last year, too. Among banks with between $10 billion and $500 billion in assets, Capital One Financial's CEO Richard Fairbank was the best-paid, making $18.7 million, according to SNL. PNC Financial Services chief James Rohr raked in $16.6 million. And State Street CEO Joseph Hooley took in nearly $16.2 million.
WATCH the SNL Bill Brasky sketch: