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Bank of America's bonuses: "These numbers are much better than Citi or Morgan Stanley's"

Bank of America bonus day has been and gone and after expectations there were greatly reduced by the unexpected cuts that occurred three days before the bonuses were announced, it seems that people are happier than might be expected with their lots. 

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"I'm talking to my friends at Morgan Stanley and Citi and people there are extremely disappointed with their numbers," says one senior banker at BofA. "But their numbers have nothing to do with mine. - My bonus is bigger than my salary and in a year when our investment banking fees were at the lowest level for a decade it could have been so much worse." 

A senior technologist at BofA seems equally sanguine. He tells us bonuses were "slightly down" this year and says that although he'd hoped to be paid more, he and most colleagues seem content. 

This may not be the case in all businesses and at all ranks, though. Writing on Wall Street Oasis, some purported BofA banking associates complained of first year associate bonuses ranging from $0-$55k. Third year associates said they'd received $70k-$80k. The Litquidity Instagram account suggested some third year associates in London received as little as $35k. "It’s clear to me there is an associate bubble at this bank that they want to get rid of. I get the business rationale, but just be straight up with people and fire them if you want them out," said one purported associate there. 

BofA could benefit from people leaving. CEO Brian Moynihan said the staff turnover rate at the bank fell to 6% in the fourth quarter, down from an average of twice that amount. 

It's maybe unfortunate, therefore, that most people at BofA seem to have been shocked into submission by the sight of colleagues losing their jobs, and are resigned to receiving lower pay and staying in their seats.  

"It's not that people are happy, it's just that expectations had been so well managed that we thought it was going to be a bloodbath," says the VP. "So when the numbers came in, and given that it was a very bad year, they seemed ok." 

Reuters reported that Bank of America's dealmaking bonuses were broadly flat this year, but that key rainmakers were paid up.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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