NEW YORK - Goldman Sachs has become the first US bank to scrap 2008 executive bonuses in response to market events. The bank set a record for pay on Wall Street only last year. Chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein and six deputies told the bank's compensation committee they would only take their standard salaries of $600,000 each. Blankfein's bonus was almost $70 million alone last year.
Banks have faced political pressure over bonuses since mounting writedowns, job cuts and the passing of the US Treasury's $700 billion bank bail-out bill. Last month, New York attorney-general Andrew Cuomo demanded pay information from the nine US banks associated with the government's Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp). This scheme is now being played down in favour of capital injections in return for direct government shareholding in US banks.