Payments-industry executives’ average total compensation in 2009 declined slightly primarily because of the economic downturn, according to data analyzed.

Average total compensation last year fell 14%, to $7 million from $8.14 million in 2008. Average salaries for top executives rose 41.3%, to $948,260 from $671,012, while average bonuses increased 44%, to $722,537 from $501,757.

Stock awards, options and other compensation components in general fell in 2009 as many corporations restructured their executive-pay plans around longer-term incentives.

PaymentsSource compiled the data from the annual proxy statements 12 large, public, U.S.-based payments companies filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For a longer version of this article, click here.

AmEx Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault was the highest-paid payments-industry executive, bringing home $17.4 million in total compensation. But his pay package was 39.6% less than his total pay of $28.8 million in 2008. Chenault’s 2009 earnings included $5.3 million in cash payments from nonequity incentives, a $5.1 million cash bonus, $4 million in options and a salary of $1.2 million.

Visa Chairman and CEO Joseph W. Saunders earned total compensation of $13.74 million last year, up 36% from $10.1 million in 2008. Other top Visa executives also notched pay gains last year. John Partridge, chief operating officer, brought home $7.95 million, up 17.4% from $6.77 million in 2008, and Byron Pollitt, chief financial officer, earned $4.63 million, up 35% from $3.43 million. Outgoing Visa president John C. Morris’ 2009 exit package totaled $18.3 million, up 275% from $4.88 million in total compensation the previous year.

MasterCard Worldwide’s incoming CEO Ajay Banga earned $11.3 million in 2009 while serving as president and chief operating officer during his first year at the company. MasterCard CEO Robert W. Selander, who retires Dec. 31, last year took home $10.33 million in total compensation, just shy of the $10.36 million he earned in 2008. And Martina Hund-Mejean, chief financial officer, last year earned total compensation of $2.27 million, down 36.2% from $3.56 million.

John J. Donahoe, eBay Inc. president and CEO, earned $10.13 million last year, 57% less than the $24 million he earned in 2008, while his senior-level colleagues absorbed compensation-package reductions of more than 50% each as the company’s overall earnings declined. EBay’s PayPal unit was the exception, with Scott Thompson, PayPal president, earning $3.22 million, up 22.9% from $2.62 million in 2008.

Discover Financial Services’ executives experienced across-the-board compensation cuts in 2009, partly because of bonus restrictions imposed by the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Discover’s top executives all took home less pay last year. David Nelms, chairman and CEO, earned $5.68 million, down 31.5% from $8.29 million in 2008. Roger C. Hochschild, president and chief operating officer, earned $4.73 million, down 31.6% from $6.92 million.

Earlier this year, Discover announced it had raised the base salaries of top executives for 2010 and switched bonuses from variable amounts to fixed amounts based on specific goals.

Capital One Financial Corp. CEO Richard Fairbank took home total pay of $6.1 million last year, nearly all of it from restricted stock and options awards. That figure was sharply higher than the $68,344 he received the previous year, having received the bulk of his 2008 pay in late 2007. Fairbank received no salary or bonus last year.

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