Prepare for bank bonus backlash
Everybody wants a scapegoat. Especially when bad things happen, like you lose your job, most of your savings, your house, and/or the chance of retiring when you’d always, quite strategically, planned.
So it makes sense that many people are very, very angry at banks, which they blame for some or all of those events.
Banks, however, don’t seem to care that much—or aren’t acting like it. Even though Goldman Sachs made some efforts at public relations with Ice Rink Gate ‘09, for instance, the company is still “expected to pay its employees an average of about $595,000 apiece for 2009, one of the most profitable years in its 141-year history.”
Read all about it: Bank bonus season starts this week, and it has the makings for some serious drama. According to the New York Times, “it looks as if it will be one of the largest and most controversial blowouts the industry has ever seen.”
Those at JPMorgan Chase stand to collect about $463,000 on average. Citigroup’s overall 2009 bonus pool is expected to be about $5.3 billion. And these numbers are after reductions given the current economy and calls from restraint from the government and American public.
Perhaps most disturbingly, “”Few banks are taking immediate steps to reduce bonuses substantially. Instead, Wall Street is confronting a dilemma of riches: How to wrap its eye-popping paychecks in a mantle of moderation.”
So the question is, when the numbers actually come out, what’s going to happen? Have we actually learned anything from the “Great Recession” or will things simply return to the same, give or take a bit of PR wrangling?
All I know is, I’m staying away from Wall Street next week.