Bank of America executive pay remains hot-button subject

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bank of America's current top executives are pulling down pay ranging from $6 million to nearly $30 million for 2009, amounts that critics say illustrate the disconnect between Main Street and bank executives.

The new chief executive of the Charlotte bank, Brian Moynihan, received total compensation of about $6 million last year, up from about $3 million in 2008, according to a proxy filing Friday afternoon.

The biggest pay package disclosed went to Tom Montag, a Wall Street veteran from Merrill Lynch, who received total compensation of $29.9 million.

Former CEO Ken Lewis, who stepped down Dec. 31, will leave the company with at least $70 million in pension benefits, stock and other compensation.

Lewis received no pay in 2009 except for "other compensation" worth $32,171, largely for tax preparation and financial planning services. Under fire for his purchase of Merrill Lynch, he agreed last fall to give up his 2009 pay as part of an agreement with the Obama administration's pay czar.

The bank points out that "stock salary" units make up the vast majority of executives' pay for 2009, in line with recommendations from pay czar Ken Feinberg.

"Even though it's tied up in stock ... that's still a ton of money that they're raking in," said Richard Clayton, research director at the CtW Investment Group.

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