Cash bonuses to Wall Street bankers rose 17% to the equivalent of $NZ29 billion, figures reveal.
The data, from the New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, also show that profits at the firms could exceed $NZ79 billion for past year.
Mr DiNapoli said the payouts were a "bitter pill" and "hard to comprehend" for American taxpayers who had bailed out Wall Street firms.
The total does not include bonuses taken in stock options instead of cash.
Mr DiNapoli said the bonuses were well below the level paid in 2007 and were more closely tied to company performance, but it was inevitable many people would consider them excessive.
Meanwhile, the regulator that ensures deposits by American customers are safe reports that about 1 in 11 banks in the US are "troubled".
The Federal Deposit Insurance Company says the number of troubled banks rose to 702 - the highest in 16 years.