ProPublica's Marian Wang points to a report in the American Banker about the increases in banking industry pay despite the economic crisis:
According to report yesterday in American Banker, even while the economy took a beating and unemployment soared, average pay in the banking industry continued rising at the same rate as it had before the financial crisis:
The clear trend, in both nominal and absolute terms, is up: Over the last eight years, average compensation for a full-time bank employee has risen 35% to $83,050, twice the rate of inflation. In 2003, the banking industry's 1.3 million full-time employees took home $78.3 billion. In 2010, its 2.1 million employees took home $168.1 billion.
In the first half of that period, raises were to be expected given climbing industry profitability and bank equity's market gains. But the financial crisis appears to have had little impact on pay. Total compensation per full-time employee rose at the same pace from 2007 to 2010 as it did from 2004 to 2007. In the later time period, profitability plunged and the KBW bank index fell by more than 50%.
Keep in mind that the point here is the trend, not the actual average. The figure mixes the modest wages of bank tellers with the big bonuses for top execs and investment bankers. The New York Times noted last year that within investment banks, average pay was solidly in the six figures.