TARP may end soon, but the battle over banker pay goes on

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While America's biggest banks may still be kicking and screaming about their need to make compensation decisions without interference, the bailouts they took from the government could impact their freedom to hand out excessive cash compensation for years to come. Even the hiring of a CEO for Bank of America (BAC) is proving a challenging negotiation, according to a report in the The Wall Street Journal Monday.

Bank of New York Mellon Chief Executive Robert Kelly has emerged as the front-runner to replace Kenneth Lewis, but the Journal reported that the pay package may be a deal-breaker. Even though Bank of America has paid back its TARP money, it remains sensitive to possible public outrage about its new CEO's compensation.