The Royal Bank of Scotland will announce a bonus pool of up to Â£300 million today, despite recording losses of up to Â£4.4 billion last year.
Reacting to the announcement, Laura Willoughby MBE, Chief Executive of campaign group Move Your Money, said:
“Why should ordinary customers and taxpayers pay for RBS’ bonuses when the bank has failed to meet even the most basic standards of performance, customer service and integrity?”
The move comes at the end of a disastrous year for RBS, which is 82% owned by the taxpayer. Last year RBS set aside Â£1.7 billion compensation for PPI mis-selling, was fined Â£390m for rigging Libor interest rates, on top of making a loss of up to Â£4.4 billion.
The bank was also forced to commit another Â£175 million to compensation claimants after a computer failure in June 2012 locked customers out of their accounts, as well as a further Â£50m for mis-selling interest rate swaps to small businesses.
This year’s bonuses represent a reduction compared to 2012, when Â£785 million was paid to employees at RBS, equivalent to 39% of the group’s losses.
Despite this reduction, campaigners were angered that any bonuses were paid at all this year, given the scale of the bank’s losses and the number of scandals and fines that have rocked the bank this year. There has also been outrage over Stephen Hester accepting a Â£2million bonus for 2010, given that Libor rigging is known to have been occurring at RBS under his watch.
Laura Willoughby continued:
“Hester is pocketing Â£2milion from the taxpayer to pat himself on the back for a year in which RBS made huge losses and was rigging the financial system, all whilst he was at the helm. Regulators and politicians have proved toothless in curbing these excesses.
“It is high time that RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers voted with their feet, and moved their money to a bank that values its customers and supports the UK economy.”
Glen Scott, 35, from Norwich, is moving his business accounts from NatWest as a result of the RBS Group’s bonus culture. “I am appalled that RBS and Natwest continue to slurp at the public trough whilst ripping their customers off.”
Pressure on RBS looked set to continue well into 2013, as analysts predicted the bank would have to increase its compensation for mis-selling interest rate swaps from Â£50 million to Â£800 million.
The beleaguered bank was also left in uncertainty about the future of its ownership, after the government sent out mixed messages about whether it would give away its shares in the company to the public. At current prices, that would represent a loss to the taxpayer of up to Â£14 billion, or over Â£780 for every family in the UK.