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Is RBS right to pay bankers £1.3bn in bonuses?

09:08 UK time, Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced losses of £3.6bn for 2009, but is still expected to reveal bonuses totalling £1.3bn. What is your reaction?

The bank's chief executive, Stephen Hester, who has said he will not take his bonus, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that RBS had lost out by not paying bigger bonuses.

RBS, which is 84% owned by the taxpayer, is the second major UK bank to report 2009 results, after Barclays announced record profits of £11.6bn.

Should bonuses be paid? Or do you disagree with the payments in principle? Did you receive an RBS bonus? What is your experience of RBS?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    The excuse made for paying these large bonuses is that some members of staff make lots of money for the company.

    So shouldn't the taxpayer - who has made many times more money for RBS than the investment bankers - get an even bigger bonus? There would be no RBS without the taxpayer, and the stock markets have only recovered because of taxpayer bailouts.

  • Comment number 2.

    84% owned by the taxpayer, so does that mean the taxpayer has the final say on the bonus awards?
    This is wrong, so wrong.................

  • Comment number 3.

    A big fat No! Join Billy Bragg's Facebook campaign to show your disgust, we are 32000 strong and growing daily. This is madness and has to stop now.

  • Comment number 4.

    I’ve go no problem with people earning huge bonuses, that’s the nature of business if you do well and make money you should be able to take home as much as your talent allows.

    However the flip side of this is that when you don’t perform you don’t get these bonuses. RBS failed and only propped up by the tax payer so there’s no way they can justify these bonuses.

  • Comment number 5.

    In the real world, companies who make a loss pay zero bonuses. A guaranteed bonus is not a bonus, it is pay and should be declared as such.

    How bankers can justify million pound pay is just crazy, are they really sure they couldn't attract any interest if they "only" offered £200k salary. How difficult is it to obtain money at 0.5% interest and then pass it on to someone else and charge 8%? A trained monkey could do that.

  • Comment number 6.

    There's no way these people should be paid bonuses when they have been bailed out by the tax payer. It's ridiculous - how could they even consider it!

  • Comment number 7.

    Disgusted? Yes.

    Surprised? Not at all.

    Will our spinelss government stand up for the public, seeing as it's our money that saved the bank from ruin? You must be having a laugh!

  • Comment number 8.

    All I can say is to allow the bonus payout is obscene.

  • Comment number 9.

    If an RBS business customer asked for a loan to pay bonuses to key staff what would be the response?

    My guess is they would actually say no way. But if you ask them they will say that they would review the case for such a loan and would require some kind of proof of the value of those people.

    So as an RBS creditor can I please see the proof?

  • Comment number 10.

    If the bankers that have been awarded bonuses remain with the company then I agree in principle. If bonuses are NOT awarded, these same bankers would be headhunted by another bank, possibly a foreign bsnk. How would this help RBS?
    The CEO has admitted that the bank has lost out by not increasing bonuses as thousands of bankers have left.

  • Comment number 11.

    The amounts of money involved in these stories are eye watering.

    The £1.3billion sounds like a massive amount, but sounds even higher when you consider that it is enough to give every pensioner in this country more than £130. Now if you only account for pensioners that are struggling financially that figure would grow. I am sure there are a lot of people who would welcome it with open arms. Perhaps those that froze to death this winter would have put their heating on with that extra cash.

    I do not agree with communism, but capitalism is far less civilised in a lot of ways. Surely there is some middle ground we can take to ensure the most vulnerable in society do not die through lack of a few pounds.

  • Comment number 12.

    Bonuses are supposed to be paid for performance - based on the Royal Bank of "Scotland's" performance, staff should be getting a pay cut not a bonus.

    But this is what baffles me, why is the Royal Bank of "Scotland" still called that? It's 80% owned by the "British" taxpayer of which 80% are English making the bank 64% owned by the English taxpayer - isn't it time for a name change to more accurately show ownership?

    How about the "Mainly English Taxpayers Bank" - at least it would be more accurate.

  • Comment number 13.

    2/3rds of the RBS loss was caused by Sir Fred's buyout of ABN Amro. These bankers are hard working people who over many years have developed the contacts and skills which brings in a lot of revenue for the banks. Yes we will lose these people if we don't pay them the market rate - thats why you find so many british health workers working abroad. It seems that people would prefer no bonuses and would prefer that RBS goes bust. I would also point out that half this money goes back to the tax payer in the form of direct taxation

  • Comment number 14.

    It seems to me that the whole culture of bonus payments by RBS is skewed massively in favour of the employers and against the owners of the bank - us - you and me - the great British public.

    So we dip out again while a few of the bankers - and remember it was the bankers who got us into this trouble - reap outlandishly high bonuses.

    To add the our woe we have David Cameron and his cronies suggesting that if the Conservatives win the election they will sell shares in RBS to the public.

    Eh? I thought we already owned RBS! Why would we want to buy shares in something we have already paid billions of pounds for?

    The whole system seems to be geared up to providing massive bonuses for a few undeserving bankers while fleecing the British public of billions of our hard-earned pounds.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is a joke, isn't it? It must be April and I've missed a whole month. A company lost £4Bn, has had to have £40Bn of taxpaypers money to keep afloat but yet it still has to provide staff with a bonus? No, really? Oh, I hear, the staff will leave and go elsewhere if they don't get what others pay. But they are only (!) getting half what the going rate is anyway sothey'll take the money and go in any event. Let them go, there are pleantly of others who'll take their place. Get real. It's time RBS, HBOS, Lloyds and others like Centrica (British Gas) stopped milking the British People and started to act with and for the people of this country.

  • Comment number 16.

    As we own 84% of the Bank and take 100% of the risk of losses we should receive back 84% of the bonuses.

    It's only fair,hang on that's not a word in the Bankers vocabulary.

  • Comment number 17.

    It is ludicrous to even imagine that taxpayers will see a return on their "investment." Taxation from all sides will remain high for many years to come and the very idea that we own 84% of RBS is equally ludicrous. It would be interesting to see the breakdown of all the salaries of RBS employees to establish exactly who is receiving these startling bonuses. On the basis of the reported loss/bonus figures, by forgoing the bonus for three years, RSB would be at break even. RSB employees are paid a salary after all - they won't exactly starve.

  • Comment number 18.

    While my Maths is not that good, after all I only did an accounting degree, £3.6 Billion less the £1.3 Billion bonus means the loss could only have been £2.3 Billion. Now if they having to borrow money to cover anything, thats a huge amount of money.

    As usual this proves how this government operates, we own 84% of the bank and for this we are paying more tax than ever, yet a select few will become millionaires, others will earn more in a year than many hard working people will earn in half a working life and the government allows this to happen with our money.

    If they were going to pay out £1.3 Billion, surely as a diviend to its shareholders would make more sense. Of course retaining all cashing and paying down debt to a sensible level makes the most sense of all.

  • Comment number 19.

    For every one who has a pension or investment backed savings with RBS, look at what return you got this year, how much that RBS division made in profets and how much bonuses were paid.....

    After all they were playing with YOUR money and the TAX PAYERS money, the BBC busness reporter stated this morning that he had acheaved a 20+% return on his shairs over the year!

    I susspect your savings made between 2 and 6% after FEES! guess where the rest of the investment profits went!

  • Comment number 20.

    join Billy Braggs Facebook group ??

    i bet the bankers are quaking in their boots over some non descript left wing failed artist getting lots of sad socialy inept fools to moan about them to each other on Facebook

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Of course not , they have made a massive loss, where's the sense in paying bonuses for failure. The govt have taken tax payers hard earned money to pay a few huundred failed bankers money , It stinks to high heaven.

  • Comment number 24.

    Of course they are not it is a nonsense to suggest when a company that has made losses running to £30 billion over two years and has only remained in existence because of tax payers money should pay bonuses to some employees because there bit of the business is currently performing slightly better. The damage that investment bankers have done to the wider economy is immense and no amount of bumper profits is likely to ever cover the losses which the rest of us will have to fork out in taxes and poorer public services.

    Incidentally I hate the new HYS layout!

  • Comment number 25.

    A bonus should be based on performance and should not be given as a right. The perception of the public is this cosy arrangement where a group of work colleagues get together and steal away with slices of the cake without the consent or understanding of the shareholders.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm a public sector worker. I'll be lucky to get any pay rise at all this year. Why should those in the public sector who have done their work properly pay because those in the treasury and the banking sector didnt? so much for 'fairness for all'

  • Comment number 27.

    If they have made a loss of £3.6bn where are they going to get the money to pay the bonuses, there's obviously nothing in the kitty.

    Frank ( bemussed)

  • Comment number 28.

    Of course they should pay bonuses. RBS staff deserve it, they've done an exceptional job over the years. Congratulations to all RBS staff, enjoy your money. As for me, and millions like me, I will continue to be bled dry by higher taxes and bills, but am happy to struggle on, and hope the next government will increase my taxes so RBS can enjoy even bigger bonuses. In fact, if RBS investment bankers want to visit me at home, they are welcome to the shirt off my back - for surely that too belongs to the tax man. Congrats RBS, you're a diamond!

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes they do need to get paid large bonuses.

    I'm a taxpayer too - and want the banks debts to us paid down - if they don't have talent earning large amounts to earn even bigger profits for the back, how on earth do you think the bank will ever pay back the taxpayer?

    As for comments like "a trained monkey can do it" - really? I assume you are one of those overpaid bankers? No? I thought not.

    These people do not work from 9 to 5 - as with many highly paid roles, the working hours grow massively as the rewards do - and no, I don't work in a bank, I have a good position in a large private company and the same culture applies here too.

  • Comment number 30.

    This might be a new HYS format, (which is fairly pointless without the recommend facilty) but the level of ignorance remains the same. Is there some problem with checking the facts before commenting?
    If the best people leave RBS or any other then these banks will fail.

  • Comment number 31.

    I worked in the banking sector for eight years and where a bonus culture exists, staff start to expect it as a "right" rather than something that may, or may not, be paid. Banking staff receive lots of perks anyway, irrespective of their performance. In the case of RBS I think it is supremely arrogant to even consider that it is right to pay staff bonuses, espcially under the present circumstances. If it wasn't for the taxpayer the RBS staff wouldn't have a job at all, so the fact that they are still in work and earning a wage should be bonus enough. A proportion of the profit made by RBS (and the other 'nationalised' banks) should be used to offset their loan from the taxpayer, and some of it could be ploughed back into care for the elderly, the NHS and Education.

  • Comment number 32.

    It just shows how weak is our government - 84% of 1.3 billion taken from our hands, from taxpayers, without any resistance.

    It makes benefit theives look comparitively honest!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Just like British Politics the current banking system is corrupt and open to fraud. I've got to ask, is the Government going to bail out those of us Tax Payers for the debts the Government got us in to? No, of course they won't. The Government will continue to fleece us no matter what and spend what they haven't got.

  • Comment number 34.

    This is completely disgusting - rewarding failure. You'd think they would have learned their lesson from making such huge losses last time but no, they still keep making losses.

    If I was an RBS account holder of any shape of form I would be voting with my feet.

    They should be ashamed of themselves. Close it down.

  • Comment number 35.

    "i bet the bankers are quaking in their boots over some non descript left wing failed artist getting lots of sad socialy inept fools to moan about them to each other on Facebook"


    There is nothing like a bit of name calling to get your point across. It would come across a lot better if you could string coherent sentence together.

  • Comment number 36.

    Both main parties are saying there will be cutbacks of public owned services . RBS is public owned, why aren't they cutting bonuses altogether?

  • Comment number 37.

    If you met a target, you should get paid your bonus accordingly. I feel that front-line workers may have met such targets and deserve their bonus accordingly. The 'higher ups' who haven't managed the bank into profitability SHOULDN'T be getting any bonuses as they didn't meet their target.

  • Comment number 38.

    Fantastic News! As a Tax Payer who bailed the RBS out, does this mean I can have my job back as a Quantity Surveyor with the my firm that succumbed to the financial pressures? but unlike RBS was not bailed out!
    Leaving me with £64.30p/week Job Seekers Allowance(JSA) for 26weeks (Soon to expire-meaning No Income for me) a wife and 2 children under age of 4.Do I qualify for a bonus too -after all what exactly did I personally do to contribute to the financial debacle which has cost us dearly.Seems as usual the "have nots" are governed by a completely different set of rules and on the hand the "haves" just keep benefitting from a problem they have created.

  • Comment number 39.

    I would like to say I think it's distgusting, rewarding failure, no wonder this country is in such Dire Straits.
    I think it would be time to sell the banks that we own and let them stand on their own feet and never to bail them out again. Start repaying this massive debt that this country owns.
    I also think it's time for a fresh Government, one that has a bit of back bone to stand out and be counted and change this country back to "The Great Britain it used to be"

  • Comment number 40.

    Not a penny in bonuses should be paid out UNTIL the ENTIRE government bailout debt PLUS interest has been repaid in full. AND no one should EVER be paid a bonus that is higher than the annual national minimum wage.

    BTW this new version of HYS is bloody aweful and definately not fit for role.I wonder what the reason is behind this change, I think its almost certainly politically driven by the Leftys

  • Comment number 41.

    The banks 'Traders' took risks for years and still got bonuses for these years when all their reckless buying of high risk trading made millions loes everything they worked for.

    The bankers are now saying the 'Traders' have made a profit for ONE YEAR and that is why they should get a bonus

    They should not only get nothing this year but also REPAY all their bonuses for the years they were reckless that brought the banking system down.

  • Comment number 42.

    I quote the Free Dictionary...
    "The term is applied especially to payments to employees either for production in excess of the normal (wage incentive) or as a share of surplus profits."
    RBS made another huge loss, so why are bankers who work for RBS getting a bonus.

  • Comment number 43.

    You say in your rules the folowing:

    Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others

    Most comments by people are going to offend a large number of people

  • Comment number 44.

    I assume then I can now stop paying my mortgage for a year thereby making a huge debt then getting a rather nice large cheque from the Bank as a bonus as well ?

    WHY NOT thats EXACTLY what the banks are doing. If they can taking bonuses for going bust then making huge losses then a precedent has been set, and us common menials should be allowed the same.

  • Comment number 45.

    "I’ve go no problem with people earning huge bonuses, that’s the nature of business if you do well and make money you should be able to take home as much as your talent allows."

    And how often have they ever rewarded talent? Banks have certainly never demonstrated any; it's easy to get rich when there's so much money passing through your hands and not a lot to stop you helping yourself to some of it.

  • Comment number 46.

    With the company I am employed by, if the company does well I get a bonus, if the company does badly I don't.
    There is no you done better than them so you get a bonus and they don't.
    The excuse that if they don't get the bonus they will move on is the same everywhere. Just how many jobs are available in banking to receive these bonuses and where do I add my name to the list ?

  • Comment number 47.

    In law, when you go bankrupt, the taxman has first call on any money repaid. This should also be the case with RBS. Once they have paid back their LOAN to the treasury, then they can consider paying bonuses. Whoever set the bonus parameters for these staff contracts probably has a vested interest in making sure they get them - and their own.

    Bet RBS is in the black by the time George Osbourne sells us shares in the business we already own :)

  • Comment number 48.

    Why is it, the people of least value to society (banking / lawyers), are the ones who get paid the most? My sister is being made redundant as a direct result of banks not lending to small - medium businesses.

    The government has failed in ways that cannot be comprehended, by propping up the banking system in the way they have, all they have succeeded in is lining the pockets of those who caused the problems in the 1st place, and destroyed the lives hundreds of thousands of hard working people.

    PS - apart from the extened text limit, i am not liking this new format.

  • Comment number 49.

    A stronger Government would simply stand up to RBS and demand immediate and full repayment of all UK Government loans to that institution. This beggars all belief and is a total two fingered salute to all UK tax payers. Any other company would not pay out bonus's if it did not make a profit after tax. RBS made a massive loss ! A direct analogy would be for a family in fiancial difficulties racking up more debt by going on an all inclusive holiday to the Maldives and simply racking the bill on to a credit card that they cannot afford to make the repayments on. Sadly RBS has not learned any lessons and deserves to go under !

  • Comment number 50.

    It is the government that has agreed to these bonuses and they will be paid with taxpayers money!

  • Comment number 51.

    The idea that they have to pay bonuses otherwise they wouldn't be able to recruit such talented staff is complete nonsense. If their current talent pool leads them to such huge losses, perhaps they need to start looking for some different people anyway.

    They pay themselves huge bonuses for one reason only: BECAUSE THEY CAN. They are part of a cosy little club, and they look after their own. They don't have to care about bankrupting the company in the process, because they know the government will bail them out if they get into trouble.

    PS: I recommend comment #28

  • Comment number 52.

    How does that song go "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired..."?
    How many times must one be asked about bonuses for bankers?
    They get them because that's the system, nothing to do with failures and successes, simply about greed and fat. Don't even think about an idea of a lesson, the lesson is ours. What did we learn from it? None of you will change so why should the system?. Live with it. I didn't !!!

  • Comment number 53.

    My Company banks with RBS (Nat West). 3 weeks ago I had an hour long appointment with the business manager to discuss the supposed £350M allocation of business loans given to them by the Government (this is what we were told in the meeting) ~ my Company is seeking finance to start a manufacturing facility in the UK. Despite leaving all my contact details and being promised they would get back to me to date I have had no response. What I have had since leaving all my details with them are endless calls and text messages from Nat West trying to persuade us to give them our Business Insurance. I see no help for small businesses just the same old sell you something you don't want or need at a ridiculous price. No bonuses should be given by us the tax payer and major shareholder until they start lending again at reasonable rates (3% max over BOE rate) and have paid back all the money put in to stop them going bust !

  • Comment number 54.

    This bank belongs to us, the people of the UK and has made a thumping loss in the last year. Bonuses, in any business, are an extra, discretionary payment and should never been considered when a business is making losses, let alone in such catastrophic debt.

  • Comment number 55.

    The market rate and the deserving rate are two completely different rates.
    The market rate is what opportunists use because they can manipulate it in their favour and hold the nation to ransom thus they get the pay they demand and say it is the market rate. They are all behind hyping up their abilities and ego to justify their earnings and many people fall for this.
    It is greed which justifies their demands for this extortionate pay and makes it ‘the market rate’ because they can tailor it to this. This is an opportunity for opportunists to get what they can and justify their greed by looking innocent.
    It is very much like mobile phone providers charging high prices for connections to other networks because the other ones charge them for their use, and so do they - they are all in this together to milk what they can so they can look innocent in ripping off customers blaming the others when they are all part of it.
    If these warring bankers deserve so much why aren’t they made pay the price for their failings like what happened in recent years? They are quick to take credit in good times but pass the buck in bad times - typical of opportunists who are nothing more than two-faced bankers.

  • Comment number 56.

    The argument to pay bonuses is usually that these people are key and will walk if not paid. Firstly this is a myth. There are plenty of people out there struggling to keep their jobs or to build truly competitive businesses (with no help from the banks) and not making any bonuses who could do far better in the banking sector if they had the chance to work in such a rigged market place where banks always win and customers and taxpayers usually lose. Secondly RBS didn't even manage to make a profit when other banks did even in this bank friendly market. On either count bonuses are not merited at RBS this year.

  • Comment number 57.

    Digraceful! Why should people who do finance get massive bonuses when engineers, medics, scientists etc. who work just as hard and are just as important do not? It's deeply unfair - these people are no more talented than any of these professionals. If these bankers keep taking our money, flaunting their obscene bonuses in our faces, especially when many people are struggling, then they can't be surprised when there is real anger in the public. When the public wanted outrageous bank charges refunded, we were refused by these fat cats who have been dipping their hands into people's accounts for years. Now they are taunting us by paying an elite few with money that could and should have gone to those who have been fleeced. I just wonder what it will take to make these bankers take their snouts out of the trough. Beware! There is a swelling of real anger over this. Maybe it will take a demonstration of this anger to show those in charge, but it should not have to come to this.

  • Comment number 58.

    I wish someone would define for me the criteria and job specification for these amazing employees who will leave if they do not get bonuses. I would also like to know what salaries these greedy people are on before they get their bonuses. Clearly they all had a bypass when it came to social responsibility! I think it is outrageous to pay these bonuses and do not believe for one minute that these banks would go down the pan if a few disgruntled people moved on. They would have though if the taxpayers had not bailed them out!

  • Comment number 59.

    Apart from the general workers of RBS & even HBOS...the best thing that could have happened when all this sorry situation occurred with bad banking practices and the outragous bonus payments was to have let these two institutions go to the wall.
    Now RBS with still billions in losses to the taxpayer are really taking the mickey with paying out over a billion in bonuses...why? - just to keep their staff...I do wonder if these people receiving these bonus payments are actually responsible for the sorry mess in the first place and that my taxes are being used to comfort zone them away from going to other companies...

  • Comment number 60.

    The warning from Hester that The Royal Bank of Scotland will fail because under rewarded employees will leave in droves is purile. Mr. Hester, your bank is already a failure. The banking industry is shedding thousands of jobs to cut costs. There is no demand for your employees who helped orchestrate & execute the biggest corporate financial collapse in UK history. To demand a reward when you are still billions in debt is a moral & ethical disgrace. Unfortunately we have a governemnt with a moral & ethical standard just as low as yours so there is no political motive for a contest of willpower. Meanwhile the British public are bystanders, whose voice is drowned out by the noise of paper money being counted by narcissistic bank managers. Shame on Britain for dumping its moral compass into an ocean of greed.

  • Comment number 61.

    Mr Hester "The people who left us last year, I believe, would have increased our
    profits by up to a billion pounds beyond the ones that we've got." Err...
    Did they make a 3.6 Billion loss? This is the man in charge!
    And what a wonderful way to motivate your staff.

  • Comment number 62.

    NO Bonus for bad management.
    Its as simple as that.

  • Comment number 63.

    Unbelievable. They mess everything up using other people's money to satisfy their own greed. This puts so many of their customers at risk of total ruin that those same customers (this time as taxpayers) along with the rest of us (some earning no more than 12k or so a year) have to bail them out with our taxes.Their boss then tells us that we should be thankful and allow them their ludicrous bonuses again for trying hard to undo the damage they've done. Surely in any half way sane world there would be no bonuses until ALL is paid off - Nothing's been paid off yet!. If they don't like it let them go elsewhere if they can find employers crazy enough to employ them after the shambles they've created here.

  • Comment number 64.

    No bank saved by the tax payer should be permitted to pay more than 10K in cash bonus, over and above that it must be paid in shares, cashable only after 3 years has elapsed from issue. that would enable us the tax payer to see just how good these so called finacial geniuses really are.

  • Comment number 65.

    It is the investment divisions of the banks that are making the profits at present and are paying the bonuses.Their activities seem to consist to a large extent in "trading" which means betting against the other members of a rich gambling club using other peoples money.

  • Comment number 66.

    How the hell does anyone get paid a bonus when your company has just lost £3.6bn?

    Take off the £1.3bn and the loss is miraculously £2.3bn. Still huge but much less of a burden on the shareholders! How can we not have a say on this???

  • Comment number 67.

    This is appalling, of course they should received no bonuses. Bonuses should be paid only for good results, not for record losses.

  • Comment number 68.

    I thank my lucky stars ever day when I get up for work, that my hard earned taxes are not going to waste in this great land.Thats sarcasm by the way! Don't you just love living in a country where through no choice of your own money you earn is automatically taken from you to bail out failing bank after failing bank with no hint of explanation.If you work in this country you get nothing (MUG) is a word that springs to mind.We are unique we actually promote failure by giving bonuses for incompetance, Makes you proud to be British. By the way Mr Brown when RBS are back in the green can I have my shares back in cash please thx.

  • Comment number 69.

    I worked VERY hard last year , but the company made a small loss, hence no one got a bonus. How come these bankers think they are entitled to bonuses, especially as it is 80% OUR money!

  • Comment number 70.

    englandrise wrote:
    "Bonuses are supposed to be paid for performance - based on the Royal Bank of "Scotland's" performance, staff should be getting a pay cut not a bonus. But this is what baffles me, why is the Royal Bank of "Scotland" still called that? It's 80% owned by the "British" taxpayer of which 80% are English making the bank 64% owned by the English taxpayer - isn't it time for a name change to more accurately show ownership? How about the "Mainly English Taxpayers Bank" - at least it would be more accurate"

    A thinly disguised racist comment imho. Surely it should be the Royal Bank of Britain if you want to be entirely fair about it.
    I find it amusing that so called supporters of British Nationalist type parties never refer to Britain but only to England and that this is rarely challenged. I think that in the minds of a lot of English people, Britain is England & England is Britain, an unconsious assumption that is insulting to the people of Scotland, Wales & NI.
    And then they have a go at us for supporting independance or devolution as being un-British.
    Mate we all live in the same world with the same needs, where does it stop, the people's state of Tower Hamlets. We can choose to either work for a better world for all or we can tear each other apart according to our prejudices.

  • Comment number 71.

    In the organisation I work for our section made good profits, other areas of the business did not meaning when it came to our pay review we all had a low increase.
    By the same standards if RBS have made a loss the whole business should pay for that loss BEFORE any bonuses.
    It is absolutley disgusting that RBS 80% owned is able to make a loss and still pay out £1.3 billion. I have joined Billy Braggs Facebook group and encourage others to do so to show the weight of feeling against these bonuses.

  • Comment number 72.

    I find it strange that suddenly everyone is an expert on banking. Their only qualification is that they are a taxpayer. Although it could be said the real "experts" in RBS did no better and certainly in the case of Fred Goodwin, that would certainly apply. The simple fact is that RBS needs the "rainmakers" to return it to profitability. The quicker this happens, the sooner the Government can be repaid. What RBS doesn't need is to become a vacuum for talent and a haven for pen pushers. If that means a bonus, then I'm in favour.

  • Comment number 73.

    A bonus system in any other industry is for amount of work or " profit" achieved. Losing billions of taxpayers money and being well rewarded has, prior to the banking scandal, been the exclusive domain of the civil service and government. Banks are so called private enterprise and rewards or bonuses are for creating a profitable environment. Losing just 3 billions instead of the previous 27 billions is not to be rewarded. If the RBS was not subsidised by the taxpayer would the bonus culture still exist?
    At the time of the self inflicted crisis all the banks were very quick to shed employees. Where are they now?

  • Comment number 74.

    If RBS is 84% owned by the taxpayers, then 84% of the bonuses should be given to them. We can't take all of the risk for none of the reward.

  • Comment number 75.

    When RBS announces record profits, THEN it is entitled to award bonuses. Not until.

    Can someone explain to me why a company with debts of £10,000 can be forced to go bust, but a company with debts of £10billion can be not only bailed out but given a pat on the back? There is something very wrong with our business culture: time and time again, we see failure rewarded, people who've devastated other's lives getting huge bonuses and golden handshakes.

    I want a say in where my taxes go. Until I get it, I'm not voting again.

  • Comment number 76.

    For a company/bank that is in part publicly owned, to allow these sort of bonus's is almost as disgusting as allowing the banks to get away with outragious charges. They appear to have dumped on Joe Public for a quick fix of the Fat Cat menu.

  • Comment number 77.

    Bonuses are supposed to be paid out when the company performs well. How can a company justify £1.3 Billion in bonus while they have a loss of £3.6 billion? It’s just not fair for the shareholders as well as the tax payers.

  • Comment number 78.

    If I were the chief of RBS I would not authorise bonuses until the bank is back in the private sector. If I was a banker at RBS I would waive my bonus. If I was in government I would have the courage to block these bonuses. All it would take was a bit of integrity, humbleness and common sense. But those things seem to be lacking in the banking industry and are completely absent in government. The bonuses are an insult to the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 79.

    What unusual contracts these bankers have and how lucky they are.

    In our industry every contract specifically details that no matter how good your individual performance, bonus payments can ONLY be made if the company makes a profit after all bonus payments have been accounted for.

  • Comment number 80.

    Poor performance should never be rewarded with bonuses, especially when said bonuses are being underwritten by the UK Taxpayer!

  • Comment number 81.

    I just dont understand this threat of "Pay my bonus or I'll leave or get head hunted by another company" Who is going to head hunt them? Northern Rock, HBOS Lloyds. Where are they going to apply for a new post Morgan Stanley, Virgin. Question 1, "It says on your CV your a failed banker and partially responsible for the collapse of your previous bank" Come on Branson give the bloke a chance HEHEHE Same threats were made previously, it was called the Brain Drain then and when they got there way did they support this country by buying British made goods, not a chance they ignored our Jaguars and swamped the country with new Mercedes. Loyalty, whats that must be something the poor people are afflicted with like Ricketts

  • Comment number 82.

    I do not mind how much they get as a bonus : but after they have paid off the enormous billions the government lent them on our behalf , either that our inept government should call in the loan and bankrupt RBS maybe sir Fred could loan them a bob or two .when its all paid back maybe its customers could move their cash elsewhere .

  • Comment number 83.

    Yeah. Big bonuses and I wonder why the politicians allow it in a bank owned by the taxpayers. Here is a guess: after the election some ex-politicans (failures like their banker friends) will be employed as well payed consultants to the banks. The ruling class, the political class, look after themselves.

  • Comment number 84.

    I am amazed that this bank dare give out such high bonuses after they were bailed out by the tax payers. It only goes to show their contempt for us.

  • Comment number 85.

    If a bonus has been earned, is it not a contractual obligation to pay it? I used to work for a software house where the bonus system was based on sales during the previous quarter, and it was written into my contract of employment what my reward would be based on the value of sales made.

    However, as a taxpayer am I not a shareholder? I'd quite like my share certificate... and I certainly would like my proxy vote back from the government so that I can exert control like any other shareholder. I have visions of a new worlds record being set for the largest AGM ever if ALL the shareholders (i.e. taxpayers) of this country decided to turn up and have their say in how THEIR bank is run :)

  • Comment number 86.

    They want to pay a bonus to people who helped the company make losses of 3.6bn I must be missing something here

  • Comment number 87.

    Already I have read posts which state that if the bankers don't get their bonus payments they will either move to another bank or be 'head hunted'.
    Surely the RSB should be happy to be rid of staff that were involved in them making such a staggering loss.
    Let them go. There are other bright minds just waiting for a chance to show what they can do.
    Stop treating these greedy men and women like demi-gods and see them for what they are. Inefficient and greedy people who have bled the system dry for years.

  • Comment number 88.

    Sure bonuses are exceptional payments and cannot be justified when a company is making a loss. I also really wonder about paying bonuses often in 6 figures to investment bankers who are basically clerks. Nothing wrong with that its an honourable profession but hardly a skilled one. Engineers like myself who do the real work and make the real money in the nation's and the world's economies never receive anything like these levels of bonus so no wonder there is a skills shortage. If moderately talented investment bankers can trouser a million a year I would certainly not advise young people to choose my career.

  • Comment number 89.

    no way can these bonuses be justified. The fat cats make enough money from their basic salaries. Why should they get more. Time they were living in the real world.

  • Comment number 90.

    £3.6bn loss, so where does the £1.3bn come from to pay the bonuses?

    And why would a Chief Executive be entitled to any form of bonus having achieved a £3.6bn loss for the business? I thought bonuses were calculated as a percentage of any profits made by a company!

  • Comment number 91.

    "But the bank's head, Stephen Hester, said it had lost money by not paying big bonuses to retain productive staff."

    So Mr Hester, are you saying that the only staff left are unproductive?

    Perhaps you are the one who is completely ineffective?

  • Comment number 92.

    no, is the simple answer. it is obscene that the banks should have led to millions being unemployed and then seen to reward themselves for their success?!

    front-line staff, yes I do believe they should have bonuses, they have taken a lot of flak from dissatisfied customers, but directors and senior managers, no definitely not!

  • Comment number 93.

    this is just a rehash of the last time it was announced RBS were going to pay bonuses, of course its not right and of course they shouldn't be paid and unless our useless government step in and say they should not be paid the payments will go ahead, as for the idiots in the banking sector who keep saying that if the bonuses are not paid the bankers concerned will leave and go elsewhere i say then LET THEM!

  • Comment number 94.

    I wonder how many people who are commenting use RSB? I used to,no more.I also would be pleased to see it go to the wall,after all its not as if there are not other banks I can use.

  • Comment number 95.

    Let us not forget that RBS has just had to pay the Revenue £210m (as tax) on these bonus payments. So at least we the tax payer do get something.

  • Comment number 96.

    Logic would state that if RBS has announced losses for 2009 of £3.6bn ($5.5bn) and some of their best-performing people have been leaving in their thousands, then RBS should be left with mostly underperforming staff. So why are they paying under-performing staff huge bonuses?
    RBS is acting contrary to their statement.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    It's the taxpayer who should be receiving a bonus for bailing the bank out of trouble. If these bankers think they deserve a bonus for losing £3billion how much will they want for making a profit!

  • Comment number 99.

    It seems to me that the bankers can take whatever risks they like and be as reckless as they choose. I think there should be some sort of penalty for poor performance. Bonuses if they do well and fines if they do not.....

  • Comment number 100.

    It may seem obscene that Bankers get million pound bonuses but this is driven by market forces. The big earners in Banking pay a huge amount in tax and contribute a great deal to our GDP. Our top performers are being driven abroad to areas like China and other emerging markets and this is to our detriment. We lose their contribution to the economy.

    Having said that, last year must've been a cushy year for Bankers because a Monkey could have made money on the Stock Market!


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