U.S. banks with compensation plans that encourage risk-taking would have to pay more for deposit insurance under a plan floated by the staff of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp on Tuesday.
The FDIC board is expected to vote shortly on the preliminary proposal, which would reward pay structures that tie banker pay to long-term performance and include clawback provisions to recoup payments based on unrealized results.
Likewise, banks with risky payment schemes, including huge cash components and incentives for short-term results, would have to pay more in insurance premiums.
The proposal, which is not guaranteed to lead to rulemaking, said the FDIC would not seek to impose a specific level of compensation. Also, it would not require banks to provide more than a minimal amount of data, in an attempt to lighten the burden of the proposal.
We're not talking about levels, notwithstanding my dismay, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said to reporters. This isn't about levels, this is about structures.
The proposal comes as bonuses have returned to the spotlight with the nation's biggest banks preparing to hand out awards that critics say were made possible only by taxpayer bailouts.
This week, the White House and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo went on the offensive against big Wall Street bonuses. Cuomo asked top bailout recipients to turn over data on expected payouts. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said some Wall Street executives continue not to get it when it comes to the fairness of big bonuses.
The FDIC's deposit insurance fee system is already risk-based. Banks with low supervisory ratings and high amounts of broker deposits pay higher rates to federally insure their customers' accounts.
The proposal would add another risk metric to the fee system.
The FDIC insures accounts up to $250,000 at more than 8,000 U.S. banks.
(Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; editing by John Wallace)