The average worker at JPMorgan earned $97,000 last year. Roughly 11,000 received pay packages over $1 million, which was what Dimon took home. Though he didn't take a bonus in 2008, at the peak of the crisis, he had earned $57 million during the two previous years.

The average American now earns $20,681 per year, according to the most recent Labor Department survey.

When Mack was asked by a reporter during a break about how Americans ought to feel about big banker bonuses he responded: "Mine is zero, okay?" (The zero doesn't include $40.4 million he received from 2006 through 2008.)

Also appearing before the commission was Bank of America's ( BAC) new CEO, Brian Moynihan , who was perhaps the most humble and deferential of the banking titans. But he also might have had the least to say. Moynihan has only been at the helm for 13 days, having served brief stints leading two major banking divisions immediately prior to his appointment.

When asked about "too big to fail," he preempted his thoughts on the topic by saying "I wasn't party to those discussions" with regulators.

Goldman's Blankfein, on the other hand, appeared impatient and even irreverent at times, answering snarkier questions in a matter-of-fact or testy way. At one point, he tried to explain away a seeming conflict of interest at Goldman, in which it bets against the same positions which it advises clients to take. While it must disclose those positions in a timely and honest fashion, Blankfein asserted that Goldman has no duty to ensure that clients make money.

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