WASHINGTON - At the banking agencies, it just doesn't pay to be the boss.

Not only do the comptroller of the currency and the chairmen of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. make less money than scores of their underlings - as detailed in an Oct. 12 American Banker report - but a close look at the salary data provided by the agencies reveals similar circumstances among other bosses and subordinates.

At the FDIC, for example, former thrift executive William A. Longbrake has the impressive title of deputy to the chairman for finance and chief financial officer. But he makes less money than either Stanley J. Poling, his assistant, or Steven A. Seelig, who as director of the division of finance reports to Mr. Longbrake.

Mr. Poling is slated to make $165,672 in 1995, and Mr. Seelig $165,461. Mr. Longbrake is being paid at an annual rate of $159,279, but he will make less than that this year because he didn't start work until February.

Another FDIC top aide, policy deputy Leslie A. Woolley, makes $137,087. As director of corporate communications, Alan J. Whitney reports to Ms. Woolley. But he gets paid $146,411.

Also at the FDIC, senior deputy general counsel Douglas H. Jones makes $168,376. General Counsel William F. Kroener makes $156,664.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a similarly backward pay scale. Deputy chief counsel Robert Serino makes $168,906, while chief counsel Julie L. Williams makes $156,188.

Over in the Comptroller's public relations office, Leonora S. Cross, deputy comptroller for communications, makes $154,876. The man she reports to, chief of staff Konrad S. Alt, pulls in just $144,499.

Only at the Office of Thrift Supervision are there no such obvious salary-title mismatches. By keeping the word "acting" in his title, acting Director Jonathan Fiechter has remained one of the three highest-paid people at his agency, with an annual salary of $166,389.

As for whether salaries fit titles at the Fed, only the Fed knows. The agency provided a general breakdown of staff salaries, but no specific information on who makes what.

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