In Bank We Trust

In reading the article about the financial difficulty and possible sale of the 49-year-old Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, I was astounded to read that CEO George Leis might not be entitled to his $2.8-million golden parachute, but might instead be restricted to his annual salary of $876,583 [“Santa Barbara Bank Being Wooed,” 1/21/10].

I stopped reading at this point and sat back wondering what someone does to earn an amazing $876,583 plus a $400,000 annual bonus. That is $580 per hour! I must be missing some vital information about what the CEO does every day to earn this sum.

After some thought, I concluded that paying Leis approximately $1.2 million dollars a year just does not make any sense. And is possibly the root cause of the bank’s current problems. One would not find it reasonable to pay a mechanic, painter, teacher, police officer, or firefighter this salary.

Perhaps, we need to examine why institutions and businesses pay these inflated salaries, as well as why Americans find it acceptable to reward CEOs with such excesses of wealth. The whole idea does not appear responsible and just seems goofy! No wonder we are bailing out banks with taxpayer funds. That also seems goofy! —Lawrence Jackson


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