Banking folly

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WE HAVE become inured to the drip-feed revelations about Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS for more than four years, but that 
top executives of the already-bankrupt HBOS were paid “change of control” bonuses on the Lloyds takeover, and that they enjoyed ultra-generous pensions even by City standards, must take the biscuit (your report 13 April).

As taxpayers effectively pay these bonuses and pensions, surely we are entitled to know precisely who authorised them and why? If they were contractual, surely the intent and wording were clear that they would apply on a “normal” takeover and not after those executives drove the 300 year-old bank into the ground? 

As they also failed to do with RBS, why did Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Lord Myners and their staff not apply bankruptcy rules as a condition of the bail-out, limiting pensions to £28,000pa from age 65 and avoiding entirely such “bonuses for going bust”? Why has this information come to light only now?

It is ludicrous that such pension schemes based on an accrual rate of 1/30th of final salary per year of service are treated as tax-deductible by HMRC for corporation tax, and they put into perspective former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby’s recent so-called gesture in waiving one-third of his own “entitlement”, leaving him with “only” £406,000pa from age 55.

John Birkett

St Andrews, Fife