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NY AG Cuomo Asks 8 Banks For Bonus Information

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-879559.mp3

Albany, NY – New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is asking eight major U.S. banks to reveal how much employee bonus money they intend to pay out for 2009. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Letters have gone out to the banks that were first to receive federal bailout money under the U.S. government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, in the fall of 2008: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, State Street Bank and Wells Fargo. The TARP money has been repaid. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told Reuters that some executives at Wall Street firms "continue not to get it" when it comes to big bonuses at banks that got taxpayer bailouts. Cuomo wants details on compensation and bonus packages.

The AG wants to know how the size of the banks' bonus pool would have been affected if the banks had NOT received a taxpayer bailout at the height of the financial crisis in late 2008.

Cuomo is apparently on target: Realtytrac says defaults and repossessions have been running at over 300,000 a month since February. One million American families lost their homes in the fourth quarter. Moody's Economy.com expects another 2.4m homes to go this year. Cuomo is giving the eight banks a February 8th deadline to turn over data as they prepare to hand out near-record compensation for last year's performance.

View one of the letters sent to the banks (in this case, to Bank of New York).

Cuomo is also looking into the role of "compensation consultants" in banks' decisions on how to structure their bonus payments.