After I wrote this piece about the Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for the State of Minnesota being underpaid, I began to wonder what the chief bank regulator in other states earns. I went to the Conference of State Bank Supervisors with my question and they provided data from their annual Profile of State Chartered Banking. Salary data in the profile shows that the chief bank regulator in Minnesota is paid less than peers around the country.
Thirty-five states in the profile provide a salary range for the top official in their bank regulation department; 10 states simply provide one figure, and five states did not provide information.
By far, the biggest salary range, and the highest potential salary, is in Alaska where the chief bank regulator can make from $103,116 to $229,824. Other states with ranges that were highest are Texas ($122,500 to $192,600), Alabama ($130,000 to $180,000) and Florida ($72,470 to $164,255). The salary range listed for Minnesota is $76,713 to $109,962, although the state job posting lists the current salary range at $80,973 to $116,072. The lowest paying bank commissioner job is in West Virginia, where the salary is stated as a flat $75,000.
If you ranked the 45 states that provided data according to the highest figure in the their respective salary ranges, top to bottom, Minnesota would come in No. 32 using the $116,072 figure and No. 37 using the $109,962 figure. The median salary is $123,198.
Of course, the number of state chartered banks in each state varies widely. It is difficult to compare a state with 20 banks to a state with 200, so it is useful to divide the commissioner’s salary by the number of banks for which he/she is responsible. If you total the top salaries at all 45 states and divide by the total number of state chartered banks in those 45 states, you come up with a cost of $1,128 per bank. Granted, Alaska skews the figure, given the commissioner there can make up to $229,824 and is responsible for only four banks making the per bank allocation $57,456. So, if you take Alaska out of the equation, you end up with a nationwide per state bank average of $1,083.
In Minnesota, where the Deputy Commerce Commissioner is responsible for 295 state chartered banks, the per bank average is $372 using the $109,962 figure, or $393 using the $116,072 figure. That is the second lowest compensation in the country, ahead only of Illinois, where the top bank regulator makes up to $138,700 to supervise 419 banks, or $331 per bank. Texas, by comparison, which has 333 state chartered banks, pays its top bank supervisor up to $192,600 or $578 per bank.
I think in the case of most states, you could argue that the top bank regulator is under-compensated, but I think in Minnesota, the under-compensation issue is particularly acute.