In This Section

Written and Researched by Jordana Hoyt, The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University. Commissioned by the Committee for Better Banks’ Member Organizations: The Alliance for a Greater New York, Communications Workers of America, Make the Road Action Fund, New York Communities for Change.

OVERVIEW. The Committee for Better Banks commissioned this report in order to begin to assess the quality of jobs within the banking industry and the state of the bank workplace from the perspective of retail, administrative, frontline and back office bank workers.

METHODOLOGY IN BRIEF. This report relies on a combination of academic research, utilizing a variety of mainstream secondary sources, with interviews and surveys to provide primary source information and data. The report relies on information from over 5,000 personal interviews and focus groups conducted by The Committee for Better Banks staff, primarily in New York City, as well as surveys of over 200 bank workers both within New York and outside of the state.

KEY FINDINGS. The findings of this report raise major concerns that this is the tale of two banking industries – one of high paid executives and the other of struggling regular workers. Following are some key findings:

  • While average wages have steadily declined on Wall Street since the financial crisis of 2008, the top fifty financial CEOs’ compensation collectively rose by 26% in 2010 and by 20.4% in 2011.
  • Bank worker wages are so low that almost 1/3 of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance nationwide.
  • There are now 19,800 fewer people employed in the financial industry in New York City than before 2008.
  • The Office of the State Comptroller estimates that every financial services position lost means two more in other industries are shed in New York City and that one job is lost elsewhere in the state.

As the hub of the financial industry is located in New York City, our city and its communities are bearing the brunt of Wall Street banks’ cost-cutting strategies. Despite receiving huge subsidies from New York City to create more jobs and develop its economy, bank executives are trying to move already relatively low paid jobs out of the city. This report also finds that the finance industry can afford to maintain and create the new and well-paid jobs for regular New Yorkers that would help rebuild the New York City economy.