Stock image of a corporate jet plane.
Corporate jets, drivers, home security: Perks for today’s bank CEOs
Banks have begun publishing their 2018 proxy statements, and all eyes have been on executive salaries and bonus pay.

Lurking in the annual statements, though, are details of the perks that banks offer their CEOs each year, from the personal use of corporate aircraft to the installation of home security systems. American Banker combed through the proxy statements for U.S. banks with roughly $50 billion or more in assets. Some big names — such as JPMorgan Chase and Capital One — have not yet reported.

What’s striking about the disclosures isn’t just the special benefits banks offer, but how widely they vary.

Consider the personal use of company aircraft — a business perk that, justifiably or not, is often associated in the public mind with corporate excess.

Several midsize banks, a group that has been vocal in recent years about being squeezed by low margins and rising compliance costs, allow it free of charge, though in some cases up to a certain limit.

At Citigroup, however, CEO Michael Corbat is required to reimburse the bank for his personal use of its company’s plane. He paid $239,978 in 2017 for the privilege.

Another benefit that pops up in several proxies: the “executive physical,” a type of medical exam designed to accommodate the busy schedules of high-powered businesspeople. The physicals from several major hospitals range in cost and the type of services offered, according to their websites. The exams typically feature minimal wait times and standard preventative screenings, though add-ons such as genomic testing to Botox injections are also sometimes available.

Once you go far enough down the asset spectrum, however, CEOs tend to enjoy fewer special benefits. In fact, it’s a point of pride for some companies to disavow perquisites. The $71 billion-asset Comerica, for instance, said in its proxy that it has never allowed the personal use of its corporate jet. What restraint, eh?
From left: Stephen Steinour, chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bancshares; Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO of Bank of America; and William Demchak, chairman, president and CEO of PNC Financial.
Flying in style
Using corporate aircraft for work-related trips is common in the business world. But when it comes to personal travel, banks diverge on whether they allow it — and if they require CEOs to pony up.

Huntington Bancshares, for instance, permits Chairman and CEO Stephen Steinour to use the company aircraft for any personal travel, if the jet is not otherwise needed for business purposes. In its 2018 proxy, the company cited the “constraints of commercial flight arrangements” and potential security risks as reasons for offering the benefit.

Steinour last year received $138,213 in compensation related to his use of the corporate aircraft.

Bank of America, meanwhile, says that in the interest of efficiency and security it requires its chairman and CEO, Brian Moynihan, to use the corporate aircraft for all of his long-distance business, commuting and personal needs. Under an agreement with the bank, he reimburses it for the cost of commuting from his home in Boston. Moynihan last year received $205,084 in net compensation related to air travel.

PNC Financial Services Group and Regions Financial each give their CEOs —Bill Demchak and Grayson Hall, respectively — a budget of $100,000 for the personal use of corporate aircraft. Above those limits, they are required to reimburse their companies.

During 2017, Hall’s personal air travel came out to less than $70,000. Demchak used the entirety of his $100,000 allowance.

M&T, meanwhile, last year paid $735,189 for business-related aviation for its late CEO, Bob Wilmers, who died in December after leading the bank for nearly 35 years. Wilmers owned a 50% stake in an unaffiliated aircraft company; M&T paid the aviation service for Wilmers’ flights.
Traffic jam _ adobe
Driven for success
Getting stuck in traffic can really eat into an executive’s busy day.

For that reason, Huntington provides Steinour the ability to use company cars for personal use. The cars are driven by security personnel employed by the bank. In addition to personal travel, Steinour uses the cars for commuting, “which permits him to work while traveling,” the company said in its proxy.

Similarly, Wells Fargo provides CEO Tim Sloan with a car and driver. The car is mostly used for business travel, but is also used for commuting from time to time.
Surveillance camera, like in a home or office security system.
Eyes on the asset
Several big banks foot the bill for installing and monitoring security systems at their CEOs’ private homes.

For instance, Wells last year paid the cost of assessing, installing and maintaining home security systems for “certain executive officers,” the company said in its proxy. For CEO Tim Sloan, in particular, Wells paid $87,203 to provide home security.

Sloan took over as CEO in the fall of 2016, succeeding John Stumpf. His appointment followed revelations that Wells bankers opened millions of unauthorized customer accounts, and marked the beginning of a scandal that has sparked the anger of community activists and investors.

U.S. Bancorp, Regions and Huntington also provide home security for their executives’ private residences.
Doctor's stethoscope
Golden stethoscope?
Think of an executive physical as a regular physical, but without the frustrating wait times and with the option for premium medical or cosmetic services.

Several regional banks said in their 2018 proxies that they provide their most senior bankers with this type of physical. Among them: U.S. Bancorp, PNC, Fifth Third Bancorp, Regions and M&T Bancorp.

It’s unclear from the proxies how much the physicals cost. A quick review of several major hospital systems' offerings finds costs can vary; at NYU Langone Medical Center, for instance, packages range from $2,500 to $7,500.

Most plans offer a range of standard tests and preventative screenings. Access to private conference rooms and an array of brunch options are also typical. Some hospitals even offer add-ons such as access to a day spa, stress management training and a range of cosmetic services, including Botox injections.
Damage in Miami following Hurricane Irma
Huntington's emergency evacuation
Most banks put strict limits on access to the corporate aircraft outside of the CEO. But there are some exceptions.

In September 2017, when Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean and up the Florida coast, Huntington paid $19,710 to fly one of its board members, Jonathan Levy, and his family out of the region.

The corporate aircraft was made available when the Levy family was “unable to procure a commercial flight,” the company said in its proxy.
country club image. Golfer in background
Going clubbin'
A lot of business gets done on the golf course, and at other exclusive social clubs.

M&T stood out among proxy filers in disclosing that it reimburses executives for club memberships “deemed advisable for business purposes.” The company did not say, exactly, what kind membership would meet that criterion.

Wells Fargo, by contrast, said in its proxy that the company explicitly prohibits reimbursements for club memberships.
Stock image of a hand gesture that says no, decline reject.
Drawing the line
Most banks describe the perks they offer as modest. But some banks shun them entirely.

In Comerica’s 2018 proxy, for instance, the company said that it has never paid for its CEO’s personal air travel.

“Comerica has never allowed the personal use of corporate aircraft, except in the case of an emergency, in which case the executive Is required to reimburse Comerica for the full cost of such use,” the company said in its proxy.

At the $50 billion-asset SVB Financial, meanwhile, senior executives receive the same health and retirement benefits available to all of its workers, the company said in its proxy.