Banks Take A Bonus – While House Repossessions Continue To Rise

An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s news – banks are delivering a healthy bonus to their (already) highest paid employees … whilst house repossessions continue to rise. And who’s predominantly responsible for the recession? The banks. Let’s face it (before anyone thinks to disagree) – the economy is in the mess it’s in due to the global banking crash.

That’s all In a nutshell of course but – that’s the top and bottom of it. Tax-payers money has gone a long way to bailing out the banks as a means of trying to avoid a further deepening of the financial crisis. Too much borrowing, shady lending, the list goes on – and those that can afford it the least are left to drown.

There’s something very very wrong here. Whilst I recognise that banking bosses work at high pressure levels, that their jobs entail massive responsibility – not just for the bank they work for but also the economy – to pay themselves massive annual bonuses is morally wrong.

As an example, the Royal Bank of Scotland has just been hit with a whopping £2.8m fine in relation to their appalling customer service record. Nothing to be proud of. And neither is the fact that on the same day the fine was decided upon – the RBS boss Stephen Hester is reported as being in line for an astonishing £3m bonus.

This is over and above his exceedingly high salary. Then there’s the chap reported as being the highest earner in the banking sector – Bob Diamond – who’s in line for an even more astonishing figure … £8 million. Unbelievable.

In fact – what’s more unbelievable is the quote that appeared alongside the news report, relating to some of Bob Diamond’s uttering’s before the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday of this week, which went along the lines of:

he [Bob Diamond] felt no remorse about paying himself the incredible bonus, and that the time for apologising is over

The thing is – what is it that they’ve done that deserves such a payout? The RBS is in a mess. Of that there’s no doubt. A massive fine, share prices down, tax-payer bail-outs – the £20 billion that the RBS received as a means of keeping it buoyant when the bank crisis peaked … this warrants rewarding?

On top of that, there’s no point in those of feeling the worst effect of the financial mess hoping that our government is going to step in anytime soon:

“If they decide to pay themselves big bonuses when they should be rebuilding balance sheets, they should know we will step in, using the tax system. That is a very clear warning.” – David Cameron, October 2009

Hmmmm. The above quote doesn’t stand alone – a number of other politicians generated the same spin, not least: George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

The general feeling is that those paying themselves big bonuses when the bank is a shareholder institution and still struggling to regain its equilibrium should not be allowed to do so.

There’s no justifying the sharing of vast bonus pots in comparison to the housing market, the house repossessions, the debt and financial strain that ordinary folk are experiencing.

An interesting side note is the fact that on the Tory website there’s a short report on David Cameron’s opinion of bank bonuses, which was published on the 15th of February 2009. You can read that here (opens in new window).

The horrible truth is this: the UK government really doesn’t care about the status of those that are being hit the hardest. So … your family is experiencing debt, is under immense pressure to stay afloat, may well be facing or has already experienced a house repossession procedure … and?

The worst irony in the entire bank bonus debacle is the fact that Steven Hester’s bonus is performance related. Clearly the RBS is massively under-performing and he’s the boss so … what’s up with that?

One could assume that beneath all the shine that appears to emanate from becoming the boss of a high street bank is the fact that these guys are also experiencing financial uncertainty. Maybe their rather large and no doubt exclusive residences are under threat of property repossession?

Looking at what these guys are paying themselves who knows? If that’s the case – and in light of the fact that Gov Inc are A) not stepping up to the plate re their pre-2011 banking bonus opining and B) showing no sign of sticking to any of the promises they made then perhaps we – the guys on the shop floor – can dig a little deeper.

Why not? Many of us are under threat of losing our homes, of seeing our houses repossessed – what more could possibly go wrong just because our pockets are emptied that little bit more?

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