Could the HBOS three finally get an official slap on the wrist for losing £54 billion, forcing the Government to rescue the bank and impoverishing millions of bank employees and small shareholders?
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Can the TSB claim to be the John Lewis of Banking? Following my blog post last week questioning that claim, here is the detailed response from Anthony Hus, Media Relations (Corporate) Manager at the TSB.
I read with interest your recent blog titled “The ‘John Lewis’ of banking? Not with this level of bonus” and thought you might like some further background on TSB’s new reward strategy and how we see this as a step forward for the banking industry, as well as how it compares to the John Lewis Partnership model.
It’s a measure of how inured we have become to the excesses of bankers, and how numbed by high numbers, that when TSB announced its pay policy recently a limit on the maximum pay of its chief executive to £1.65 million — 65 times the average salary of its ordinary staff — could be presented as modest.
There now looks to be a more than even chance that we taxpayers will get back the money we pumped into Lloyds to prevent it going bust after the disastrous takeover of HBOS in 2008-9.
How much is a banker worth? The question arises as top earners squeal over European Commission proposals to close the growing gap between the amount paid to chiefs and workers. Reporting on the draft plan which would give shareholders the right to vote down the ratio between board pay and average full time worker, the Financial Times estimated that executives in the big banks are paid in excess of 100 times more than the average worker on their pay roll.
I have a lot of time for Sir Richard Lambert. I worked with him on the Financial Times in the 1970-80s and after I left he rose to become a very successful editor of the paper. Then followed a stint on the Monetary Policy Committee, then a period as Chief Executive of the CBI. But I can’t help thinking he has his work cut out to change the culture of Banking.
During a recent stay with friends in England I was appalled to see a cinema ad for Lloyds Bank, part of its £30 million “moments that matter” campaign which tries to imply that the bank has only its customers’ best interests at heart. How can the Advertising Standards Authority allow this so soon after the £28 million fine on the bank for foisting on 700,000 of its customers investment products they did not want or need?
The Archbishop of Canterbury said it and was ignored, now Vince Cable’s “Enterpreneur in Residence” has repeated it. RBS and Lloyds are too big and have too dominant a share of the UK banking market to enable a healthy economy to grow: they should be broken up now.
Those of you who wake early on a Saturday morning (or are extremely late in after a Friday night) might want to catch Business on BBC Radio Scotland at 6am. I have another excuse for not listening (I’ll be in Boston), but if you miss it the programme is repeated on Sunday at 10am or on the iPlayer.