ROYAL Bank of Scotland last year paid 95 of its employees more than £1 million despite running up a loss of more than £5 billion.
The figure compares with 428 at Barclays and 204 at HSBC but RBS, still 82 per cent owned by the taxpayer, will come in for particular scrutiny because of the state bail-out and its huge losses.
The bank has already been criticised for handing out £607m in bonuses and yesterday revealed that the top ten executives shared £21m in total remuneration, although that figure was 16 per cent lower than in 2011.
Chief executive Stephen Hester received no pay rise and has already waived his 2012 bonus. But he picked up £700,000, representing the second half of his 2010 entitlement, and has been awarded a further £1.6m under the long-term incentive plan.
Finance director Bruce Van Saun received a £980,000 bonus, taking his total pay package to £1.7m, according to the bank’s remuneration report. Together with other benefits, it rises to £2.7m.
Ellen Alemany, head of RBS Americas and chairman and chief executive officer of RBS Citizens Financial Group, is believed to have received the top award, amounting to £3.8m and a £1m bonus.
Five other undisclosed directors were paid packages ranging from £744,000 to £2.2m, while John Hourican, who resigned as head of the investment bank in the wake of the fine over rate-rigging, picked up £775,000 but no bonus.
Ron Teerlink, head of the back-office operations who is also leaving, picked up £650,000 and no bonus.
Among the higher-paid, 36 earned between £1.5m and £5m and one was paid more than £5m. But the average salary across all its staff was £34,000.
The pay report follows a year of mis-selling scandals and compensation for IT failures. RBS suffered a series of reputational blows last year, including its £381m settlement for attempting to rig interbank lending rates, mis-selling payment protection insurance and an IT meltdown which left millions of customers without access to their bank accounts.
Penny Hughes, chairman of RBS’s remuneration committee, said the committee had “spent a great deal of time challenging and taking action in response to past events and considering how remuneration can help to drive appropriate behaviours at RBS in future”.
She pointed out that of those receiving awards, 68 per cent would get less than £2,000 and 81 per cent less than £5,000.
RBS was forced to correct the number receiving more than £1m from an original 93 when it was noted that it had not included the chief executive and finance director in its calculations.
Meanwhile, trade unions hit out over “rampant inequality” between pay for those on the front line and bankers at the top, as Barclays also said more than 71,500 staff received less than £25,000 in 2012.
Dominic Hook, Unite national officer for finance, said: “The rampant inequality in the pay between the top Barclays’ executives and those on the front line who deal directly with customers is shocking.”
Barclays said it reduced its 2012 bonus pool by £860m for Libor rigging and mis-selling, while it clawed back an additional £300m in previous awards and long-term incentives in the wake of the Libor scandal.
A potential £3.3bn bonus pool was also reduced by a further £250m to better align its pay in the market, although it still shared out a total incentives pot worth £2.2bn.
This saw employees pick up an average £13,000 in bonuses last year, with investment bankers taking £54,100 on average.
The report also confirmed that former Barclays boss Bob Diamond – who quit last summer – will continue to be paid until July. He remains entitled to an annual salary of £1.4m and £675,000-a-year cash in lieu of pension.