Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank Corp. saw his total compensation increase by 9 percent in 2013 amid another year of growth for the Buffalo-based bank.
His total compensation was $3.7 million, compared with $3.4 million in 2012, the bank said in its annual proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Wilmers’ 2013 salary was $950,000, a 49 percent reduction from $1.85 million the year before. But his 2013 bonus was $425,000, more than double his amount for 2012. His stock awards totaled $1.9 million, up from about $750,000 the year before, and there was other compensation.
Still, Wilmers’ pay, while top-shelf for a Buffalo-based executive, is relatively low for the leader of a Top 20 U.S. bank with more than $85 billion of assets, especially for executives on Wall Street. For example, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon had 2012 compensation of $18.7 million; his 2013 pay package has not yet been disclosed.
Compared with other regional banks, Wilmers’ pay seems modest. Fifth Third Bancorp of Cincinnati, with $130.4 billion in assets, paid $8.16 million to CEO Kevin T. Kabat last year. Cleveland-based KeyCorp, a major regional rival with $92.9 billion in assets, paid CEO Beth E. Mooney $6.27 million in 2012; 2013 figures were not yet available.
Comerica of Dallas, at $65 billion in assets, paid $10.2 million to CEO Ralph W. Babb Jr. in 2012. And at Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Ala., which has $117.4 billion in assets, the CEO, O.B. Grayson Hall, received $11.9 million in total compensation in 2012.
In the filing, M&T credited the compensation to Wilmers’ performance, saying his “focus on and accountability to M&T’s key priorities allowed M&T to continue to strengthen its capital planning and risk management practices in response to regulatory changes, and to make major investments and improvements in its risk and compliance infrastructure and processes.”
M&T last year reported net income of $1.14 billion, up by 11 percent from the year before, and diluted earnings per share of $8.20, which increased by 9 percent.
So why was Wilmers’ salary cut in 2013? It was a reallocation of payments back to the way the bank traditionally compensated prior to the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Under TARP, banks that took investments from the U.S. Treasury during the financial crisis had to comply with caps on how much cash they could pay top executives. To get around that, they paid extra in stock instead.
M&T paid its top executives a portion of their salary in common stock from the start of 2010 through 2012. In Wilmers’ case, his 2012 salary consisted of $850,000 in cash and $1 million in stock. For 2013, the compensation committee eliminated the stock salary component because the TARP compensation standards no longer applied, since the bank repaid its full TARP amount to the government.
But while Wilmers has guided M&T through significant growth during his 30-year tenure, the bank also faced adversity last year. Its long-planned acquisition of New Jersey-based Hudson City Bancorp has been delayed while M&T works to strengthen its program against money laundering to satisfy federal regulators. And for 2013, M&T was the worst performer in the 24-company KBW Bank Index, which increased by 35 percent, according to Bloomberg News.
Decisions about M&T executives’ pay packages are determined by the nomination, compensation and governance committee of M&T’s board of directors. The committee takes into account net income, earnings per share and other results when deciding how much to compensate its executives. “M&T’s performance in 2013 substantially met its business plan on these measures,” the filing said.
For comparison, the committee also looked at the compensation for top executives at nine commercial banks with similar business makeup, size and geographic reach, including KeyCorp.
The five named M&T executives whose pay packages were detailed in the filing received combined compensation of $15.3 million in 2013. Michael P. Pinto, who was vice chairman of M&T Bank Corp., received a total of $3.65 million, nearly as much as Wilmers. But he has announced he is taking a reduced role with the bank due to health reasons, and his compensation for 2014 was reduced.
For this year, M&T is keeping Wilmers’ salary unchanged at $950,000, and he is to get stock awards totaling $1.7 million, compared with $1.9 million last year.
News Business Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein contributed to this report. email: firstname.lastname@example.org