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I suspect the highly compensated issue is the reason. Where that line is drawn depends on a combination of the distribution of employees at different pay levels, and the degree of participation at the varying levels. My 401k was with three different consumer packaged goods companies through a succession of acquisitions. The limit was never more than 16%, but after a few years I was classified as highly compensated and restricted even more. My understanding was that the rank-and-file plant workers - the largest group - mostly put in no more than the 5% or 6% it took to get the maximum match. Was the bank that allowed 50% the kind that had lots of branches and tellers on the payroll? Or perhaps it was an investment bank with a smaller percentage of grunt workers? If my reasoning is correct it would be the second.
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