Leaders of financial services trade groups hit the jackpot in 1997.
The average top executive at nine of the leading groups got a 10% raise, to $509,000, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.
Carroll A. Campbell, president of the American Council of Life Insurance, led the pack with a $968,000 paycheck, up 17%. Marc Lackritz, president of the Securities Industry Association, was the next best paid. He made $673,000, a 9% increase.
The biggest hike went to Paul A. Schosberg, president of America's Community Bankers. A one-time performance bonus of $70,000 helped push his pay up 37%, to $481,000.
Kenneth A. Guenther, executive vice president of the Independent Bankers Association of America, was another big winner. His pay jumped 25%, to $399,000.
The lowest-paid chief executive was Joe Belew, president of the Consumer Bankers of America, which paid him $271,000 last year.
Daniel A. Mica, president of the Credit Union National Association, was the only one of the chief executives to take a pay cut, to $508,000. The CUNA, which Mr. Mica joined in mid-1996, paid him at a 9% higher rate that year, but this included one-time signing bonuses.
Donald G. Ogilvie, executive vice president of the American Bankers Association, made $543,100, roughly the same as in 1996. He declined to discuss his not having gotten a raise, as did former ABA board president James M. Culberson Jr., who called Mr. Ogilvie's 1997 performance "outstanding."
American Banker based its survey of trade groups and their top executives on public tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Nine associations representing banks, thrifts, credit unions, insurers, and securities firms were reviewed. The filings covered fiscal years 1996 and 1997, which the groups define differently. The figures include wages, benefits, incentives, bonuses, and expense accounts.
The trade groups themselves fared nearly as well as their chief executives. All but one turned a profit.
The Independent Insurance Agents of America took in $2.1 million more than it spent in 1997-a substantial figure, given its relatively modest budget of $11 million. The American Bankers Association had the second- largest surplus, at $1.5 million, though that amounted to just 3% of its $49 million budget.
Not coincidentally, those two groups were among the three that cut expenses in 1997. The ABA trimmed conference-related expenses 14% and travel costs by 8%.
The credit union group was the only one to lose money. CUNA, based in Madison, Wis., closed the year $373,000 in the red, partly because of costs associated with expanding its Washington presence.
Nonprofit organizations "need some reserves," said Harvey J. Berger, an associate partner with Grant Thornton LLP. "If not, they're constantly scrounging."
There were some other signs of potential trouble.
A third of the groups drew more than half their revenues from member dues and assessments in 1997. Dues came to 93% of revenues at the life insurance group, 89% at the Bankers Roundtable, and 64% at the SIA.
The CUNA was the least dependent on dues. Slightly more than one-quarter of its 1997 revenues came from member payments.
"Anybody that's under 50%, they just get blue ribbons in the association management world," said the Consumer Bankers' Mr. Belew, whose group drew 42% of its revenues from dues. "The less you're hitting on your members for all your expenses, the better they like it."
Dependence on dues can be risky, as the Roundtable recently learned. In June, J.P. Morgan & Co. quit the group to avoid a $200,000 special assessment levied to fund the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat, the Roundtable's technology arm. Boston-based State Street Bank also dropped out this year.
"We're heavily dependent on dues, obviously," said Anthony T. Cluff, the Roundtable's executive director. The group tries to hold expenses, he said, but "if we have to, we raise dues."
"We still think we're offering value to the membership," he added.
Spending for one of the groups' main jobs, lobbying, rose 8% on average. The biggest spender, at just under $5 million, was the SIA. The ACLI was next, at $4.2 million, followed by the ABA, at $3.9 million. The IBAA's lobbying expenses jumped 29%, to $2.1 million in 1997.
But the groups differed widely in how much of their money went to lobbying. The Roundtable's $1.3 million was 27% of its entire budget. The life insurance group's much larger lobbying outlay represented came to only 10%.
Many banking groups would like to know what the CUNA spent to lobby Congress in 1997, but the sum was not available. Because members of the group are nonprofits, it need not report lobbying expenses to the IRS, and spokesman Mark Wolff declined to volunteer a figure.
"We want to keep them guessing," he said.