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From $17,000 to $24 Million: Defending the Pay Gap at Banks

May 2, 2019

by Howard Haykin



G-d Bless, Michael Corbat. The CEO of Citigroup, who sees his 'Rags to Riches' story as a beacon of light for millions of low-level employees - inspiring them to work hard so that one day they too may sit atop the ever-widening American pay gap. 
Mr. Corbat is quick to defend his compensation, noting that he started out at the bank in 1983 earning $17,000 a year, and "through the grace of God and hard work" he rose through the ranks to his current position (and earned $24.2 million for 2018 – or roughly 486 times the median Citigroup employee pay of $49,766).


Those remarks came during a Thursday morning interview on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, in which Michael Corbat reiterated the position he expressed last month about income inequality at large U.S. corporations during a Congressional hearing. [CNBC]



Mind you, this is the same individual who said that the widening income gap in the U.S. ranks high on the list of things that keep him up at night. In his defense, it should be noted that Citigroup has been increasingly taking stances on prominent social issues. For example, it’s the only major U.S. bank to disclose an unadjusted analysis of the pay gap between its female and male employees.  [Bloomberg]



That said, Mr. Corbat isn’t even the highest paid among Wall Street CEOs or among financial institutions.

  • At JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, CEO Jamie Dimon got $31 million for 2018, while Brian Moynihan of Bank of America got $26.5 million. [TheStreet]
  • And consider the estimated $2 billion in compensation that Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio earned in 2018. That figure placed him at the top of  the world’s richest hedge fund managers. [NYTimes]  [Institutional Investor]