Bankers Back To Congratulating Themselves, Bonuses Up 17%

In these tough times, it’s easy to forget about the struggling bankers out there as you dodge their SUVs on your walk to the unemployment office. So it’s a good thing they have someone looking out for their financial interests — themselves.

According to the NY State Comptroller, Wall Street doled out a total of $20.3 billion in bonuses in 2009, with the bonuses averaging $123,850. Additionally, employee compensation is up 31% at three top banks: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

A lot of this is fueled by the federal money that helped these firms get back on their feet very, very fast,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said about Wall Street’s speedy return to profitability.

Some, however, don’t think the bonus tea party will last too long as the boon from the bailout money fades.

Writes the Atlantic’s Daniel Indiviglio:

We might even manage to get a little bit of financial regulation, which I desperately hope will include higher capital requirements and more reasonable leverage limits. If that happens, then we may not see a repeat performance of profit growth on Wall Street once the legislation takes effect. But those bankers and traders do have an uncanny talent for extracting profit no matter what the obstacle, so they could very well manage to find ways to escape much of the regulatory effort that would otherwise limit their profits.

What do you think? Would it not be better to re-invest that $20 billion in long-term growth, instead of as bonuses?

Wall Street bonuses jumped 17 percent [Reuters]

Wall Street Bonuses Up 17% In 2009 [The Atlantic]