The head of First Chicago NBD Corp.'s corporate bank received a smaller bonus last year than in 1995, but the chief executive's doubled.

According to the company's recently issued proxy, chief executive Verne G. Istock got a $1 million bonus for meeting financial and nonfinancial objectives during "the critical first year following the merger" between First Chicago Corp. and NBD Corp.

Mr. Istock, who is also chairman and held that title at NBD until it merged with First Chicago in October 1995, received total cash compensation of $1.8 million last year, up 36%.

But the bonus for David J. Vitale, vice chairman and head of corporate banking and investments, dropped $100,000, to $650,000.

The proxy doesn't say why, but the corporate bank has been an area of concern, with performance lagging that in other areas of the company.

Mr. Vitale was vice chairman of First Chicago before it merged with Detroit-based NBD.

He was named head of corporate banking last October when the company reorganized into three lines of business-regional, corporate, and credit cards.

His base salary did rise last year, but his total cash compensation fell, to $1.1 million from $1.2 million.

Company spokesman Thomas Kelly declined to discuss why Mr. Vitale's bonus shrank. One reason may be that the 1996 bonuses for the top executives reflected new rules for the combined company; the 1995 bonuses had been based on formulas set by the premerger banks.

Mr. Kelly said Mr. Vitale's pay cut didn't necessarily reflect the poor performance of the corporate bank. "I don't know that I would draw those conclusions," he said.

However, Mr. Vitale was the only one of the top five executives to receive less total cash compensation last year.

The figure was up 7.6% for Thomas H. Jeffs, vice chairman and head of retail banking; 13% for Scott P. Marks, vice chairman and head of credit cards, insurance products, and operations; and 29.6% for Andrew J. Paine Jr., executive vice president. Mr. Jeffs got $1.13 million, Mr. Marks $953,000, and Mr. Paine $734,000.

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