Union lobbies to trim BoA chief's severance package

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a top US labor group, has urged the Obama administration's pay czar Kenneth Feinberg to stop any retirement payments to Bank of America (BoA) chief executive Ken Lewis.

Bank of America announced last week that Lewis will leave the company by year-end.

In a letter to Feinberg, the union says Lewis should not receive any retirement or severance package until the bank stops foreclosures and increases lending.

Feinberg, a Washington lawyer, was appointed by US president Barack Obama in June to review the pay packages for the highest-paid employees of companies that received extraordinary government assistance
He is expected to begin releasing a first wave of pay rulings by mid-October.

"Taxpayers have already provided nearly $200 billion in bailouts and backstops to Bank of America," the letter said, adding that this enormous public investment entitles taxpayers to have a say in the bank's executive compensation practices.

The bank received only $45 billion in federal assistance through the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP).