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JPMorgan's Dimon gets $23 million for 2011 and bragging rights

April 4, 2012: 6:30 PM ET
Jamie Dimon

Wall Street's top dog, again.

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon says 2011 was a good year, but that "contrived" banking regulations are slowing the U.S.'s economic recovery.

FORTUNE -- Jamie Dimon is still Wall Street's top dog.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) disclosed on Wednesday afternoon that it paid its CEO $23 million in 2011. That was the same as last year, but it handily made Dimon, for the second year in a row, the best paid CEO in banking in 2011 - a year in which many other top financial executives saw their pay cut. Dimon's pay for instance, was more than double rival Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein, whose pay likely dropped to $9 million for 2011, down nearly $4 million from the year before. The only CEO who was even close to Dimon was Wells Fargo's (WFC) John Stumpf, who got a total pay package of just under $20 million.

Dimon received $6 million of his $23 million in salary or cash bonus. The rest was paid in restricted stock and options, the first portion of which will start to vest in early 2014. And while Dimon was also the only JPMorgan executive who managed to avoid a pay cut in 2011, the pay of the other executives make it clear that big paydays are far from over on Wall Street. JPMorgan's investment banking chief James Staley, for instance, got paid $16 million for last year, including a $5.3 million cash bonus. JPMorgan's CFO Douglas Braunstein saw the biggest drop in pay to $9.5 million for 2011, down $3 million from the year before.

There is clearly reason Dimon should be rewarded. The bank earned nearly $19 billion last year, up nearly 10% from the year. And while the company's shares fell last year, the company's stock dropped far less than rivals. In Dimon's annual letter to shareholders, which was also released on Wednesday night, Dimon said that he was happy with the firm's performance. But he also said that he believed recently imposed banking regulations like Dodd-Frank was holding back JPMorgan and other banks' ability to lend. Dimon quipped that when the history of the recovery from the financial crisis is written it will be titled "It Could Have Been Much Better." He seemed to lay most of the blame for that on Washington.

Dimon's biggest regulatory beef is with a requirement that will force JPMorgan and other large banks that are deemed "Systemically Important" to hold as much as a third more capital than the minimum other banks have to hold to protect themselves against bad loans and other losses. He called the rule "contrived," and said that it would make the banks less diversified, not more so. Dimon said he also had problems with the Volcker rule, which limits banks' ability to make risky trades, and with rules that govern derivatives, an area that JPMorgan is big in.

Dimon said JPMorgan was in the process of putting its mortgage-related problems behind it. He said JPMorgan now has 23,000 employees working on modifications and cleaning up the problems in its mortgage service business, up from 6,800 in 2008. Dimon said that the $26 billion recent settlement with the state attorney generals that JPMorgan struck along with other banks will release the bank from all further claims related to mortgage servicing problems. A number of state attorneys general involved in the settlement have said that the settlement would not eliminate all the legal claims against the bank related to foreclosure infractions.

JPMorgan also disclosed that it recently received two "Wells" notices from the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its mortgage business. One of the Wells notices had to do with the disclosures that JPMorgan made when selling two mortgage-related bonds. The second Wells notice relates to the way in which Bear Stearns dealt with defaulted loans that were included in the mortgage bonds that the investment bank, which was acquired by JPMorgan in mid-2008, sold to investors. It has been reported that Bear bankers regularly got brokers to reimburse the bank for loans that went bad, but then did not pass those payments on to the investors who eventually bought those loans, and suffered losses. Instead, the payments reportedly went to pad Bear's earnings and boost the bankers' bonuses. Wells notices indicate that the staff of the SEC has determined that a securities law violation has occurred and that charges should be brought.

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About This Author
Stephen Gandel
Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel has covered Wall Street and investing for over 15 years. He joins Fortune from sister publication TIME, where he was a senior business writer and lead blogger for The Curious Capitalist. He has also held positions at Money and Crain's New York Business. Stephen is a four-time winner of the Henry R. Luce Award. His work has also been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the New York State Society of CPA and the Association of Area Business Publications. He is a graduate of Washington University, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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