Stimulus bill retroactively limits banker compensation (including M&I compensation for 2006)

What was in that bill, anyway? I bet we’re in for a few more surprises over the week.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The administration is concerned the rules will prompt a wave of banks to return the government’s money and forgo future assistance, undermining the aid program’s effectiveness.

Well, duh. The TARP was popped into the vaults of banks all over America that didn’t really need it. Milwaukee’s own M&I was on that list.

Here’s M&I’s 2006 compensation:


(Click to make the image larger.) Yes, that number on the first line is $8,085,707 after a base salary of $925,000.

Again from the WSJ:

Congressional aides said the bonus provision means an executive could receive a bonus equal to as much as 50% of salary. For instance, a $500,000 bonus for someone with a $1 million salary would meet the test because the bonus would make up no more than a third of the person’s $1.5 million in total compensation.

Under the bill, bonuses can be paid only in restricted stock, which recipients couldn’t cash in until the Treasury is repaid.

If the bill’s fine print includes M&I, I’m thinking Mr. Kuester wouldn’t be pleased.


  1. As I’ve said before, as soon as you take government money, they OWN you.

    This should be a lesson to everyone who thinks the government is the answer to their problems.

  2. Well, Kuester is the guy who put the pedal to the metal on M&I’s commercial RE lending…

  3. Deekaman,

    Who cares? Fine by me if the government decides to have strings attached to taxpayer capital injections into the banks. I say let Kuester give the money back, let him fix his dilapidated balance sheet with private capital and let the equity holders take it in the shorts.

    I can assure you that Kuester’s “bonus package” will look a bit different once the equity holders are on the hook for his mismanagement.

    Government is doing nothing different than what private enterprise does when equity holders take the pipe for CEO mismanagement. There should be strings attached to all forms of government welfare….including the corporate variety.

    P.S. that being said, I don’t think our government should be wasting it’s time with small banks like M&I anyway. Let them figure it out for themselves and, if they can’t, let them go bankrupt and have the FDIC clean up the mess. The small banks in this country are not the problem. The half a dozen or so insolvent monsters at the top of the food chain are where most of this nation’s garbage is kept. We should focus our efforts there.