Banks are in the news again in the UK as the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland posted losses of £3.6 billion. This was just hours after announcing it would hand out staff bonuses of £1.3 billion.
This has caused a few eyebrows to furrow or rise in consternation, but it does have a sound basis in logic. RBS were expected to announce losses of £5 billion, so the staff have obviously done a jolly good job!
The bonuses were duly approved by the UK Financial Investments (UKFI), the body set up to manage the Government’s stakes in banks. No surprise there.
The banks always argue that not paying hefty bonuses and exorbitant salaries would lead to people leaving the industry. So? There are plenty more to take their place, there always have been and always will be.
It is not as if it is the most difficult job in the world, after all. The basic concept is sit on your butt all day, take people’s money and lend it to someone willing to pay more for the privilege than you would have to pay back to the person who originally gave you the money.