Because they will be able to attract the best and biggest-producing bankers.

The bankers struggled to make themselves clear to the president of the United States.

Arrayed around a long mahogany table in the White House state dining room last week, the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the world offered several explanations for paying high salaries to their employees — and, by extension, to themselves.

“These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”

But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Pitchforks that his political allies corral on buses to tour their neighborhoods for a fabulous photo op.

The employees who stay at a Citi or Chase will be the ones heavily vested, near retirement, or with few options. Look for the boutiques, the closely-held and the foreign banks to go on a tear.

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