Compensation data for bank chief executive officers are just starting to trickle out, but already there is evidence that the nation's top bankers got big cash raises in 1999, a weak year for bank stocks.

Boards of directors, facing fierce competition for executive talent from the Internet and other industries, have had to raise the compensation bar higher and higher to retain key personnel, said Lee Pomeroy, an executive recruiter at Egon Zehnder International in New York who specializes in the financial services industry.

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