Downturn Had No Effect On Bank Salaries

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WASHINGTON — The economic downturn and bank bailout has not hurt pay at banks. According to American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal, a review of call reports filed with FDIC and compiled by BankRegData.com, shows that average compensation in the last few years rose — and at the same rate as it did before the crisis. Employees of the largest banks realized the largest gains. American Banker noted that increases significantly outstripped inflation and can't be attributed solely to shifts in pay schemes or recovering profitability. Banking in general shielded pay from its cost-cutting ax.

The clear trend, in both nominal and absolute terms, is up: Over the last eight years, average compensation for a full-time bank employee has risen 35% to $83,050, twice the rate of inflation. Total compensation per full-time employee rose at the same pace from 2007 to 2010 as it did from 2004 to 2007. In the later time period, profitability plunged and the KBW bank index fell by more than 50%.

American Bankers Association data on salaries for specific retail banking occupations confirm the trend, American Banker reported. Out of a sampling of 18 jobs benchmarked in 2007, 15 posted salaries two years later that had grown faster than the rate of inflation, with the median 8% salary increase more than double the rate. The only positions that didn't show substantial increases were the ones that paid the lowest salaries already, such as head teller ($31,000) and loan servicing clerk ($32,000).

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