By Elinor Comlay and Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) – New York’s attorney general asked eight major U.S. banks to turn over data on planned bonuses for 2009, amid a growing public outcry over payouts in light of the industry’s role in the near-collapse of the financial system and recession.
Andrew Cuomo made the demand Monday to the banks that were first to receive federal bailout money in the fall of 2008: Bank of America Corp, Bank of New York Mellon Corp, Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, State Street Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.
These banks have all repaid infusions taken from the government’s much-maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), though some of the U.S. investment in Citigroup has been converted into common stock.
In letters to the banks, Cuomo requested details by Feb. 8 about bonus pools, whether cash or stock is being used in awards, mechanisms designed to tie pay to performance, how TARP money affected the payouts, and whether any awards can be recouped in case the banks’ fortunes later sour.
“Some banks made a lot of money because, in some cases, taxpayers gave them a lot of money,” Cuomo said at a news conference. Citing the nation’s 10 percent unemployment rate, he added: “The taxpayer is still paying that cost.”