‘RBS boss defends bankers’ bonuses’

January 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm

The chief executive of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), Stephen Hester, has told the Treasury Select Committee hearing that the huge bonuses that bankers are paid are in fact fair, despite the huge controversy surrounding them.

Hester was hired to turn around the fortunes of RBS, and if he does a good job in his role he could receive close to £10 million in bonuses over the next three years. RBS has hit the headlines recently as it has confirmed that it will be paying bonuses of £1.5 billion to 22,000 bankers in the near future.

Hester said that a lot of these bonuses are now paid in shares, and that the bonuses being handed out were now the “minimum we can get away with”. He also said that RBS had gone the furthest to reform the culture of big bonuses that has caused such upset recently with a disgruntled public.

Hester claimed that the paying of huge bonuses was essential to banks because it helped to attract the best people for the job and to prevent employees from leaving.

£45.5 billion was pumped into RBS by the taxpayer in order to save it, and as a result it is now 84% owned by the government. The Lib Dems are calling for the bigger banks to be split up to prevent a repeat of the recent financial crisis, but this has obviously not gone down well with bankers.

Hester said that his deal was the “going rate”, but he did concede that even his parents think he gets paid too much. He said: “If you asked my mother and father about my pay they’d probably tell you it is too high.”

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‘Santander begins to rename branches’

January 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Santander, the Spanish banking giant, has begun the process of renaming all the Abbey and Bradford & Bingley banks across the UK. Santander bought Abbey in 2004, followed by Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester in 2008. The 300 A&L branches are to be renamed later in the year.

Once the renaming process has been completed, Santander will become the fifth largest current account provider in the UK with a total of 25 million customers.

The re-naming process will cost the bank a total of £15 million to instigate. The first stage of the process will involve renaming 300 branches in southeast England, with the remaining 700 to follow later this month. Added to the costs will be the 9,500 new uniforms for the staff, the re-naming of 971 cash machines, as well as the re-branding of 27 internet sites.

Alison Brittain, an executive at Santander, said that the brand has remained “untarnished during the credit crisis”, and that it will “operate as a challenger on the UK high street”.

Although some customers may be sad to see such familiar names on the high street disappear to a giant banking corporation, Santander could well prove to be a better deal for them. Last month it was named the Global Bank of the Year by The Banker. It also offers its customers a number of perks, one of which is the free use of cash machines in Spain for current account holders if they credit £1,000 or more to their accounts each month.

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