How ridiculous that the RBS top executives seem to expect, first, our gratitude for "foregoing their bonuses", when the bank is reporting losses of £8bn for 2013, and then our agreement to the other senior staff having bonuses of 200% of salary, in case, "they get upset and leave"! The idea that bonuses helped bring about the 2008 crash because they encouraged investment bankers to take unnecessary risks must have been mistaken. Silly us!
What we are always told is that banks have to pay obscene amounts of money in order for them to "stay competitive in the global market", and attract the "best" people. By that they mean people prepared to put making profit for the bank at the top of their priorities, regardless of the welfare of their customers, or of the requirements of the economy. They don`t have to possess skills like evaluating SMEs and whether they offer the prospect of benefitting the local economy, but they do need knowledge of deception, to mis-sell products to customers,to fix interest rates, to hide laundering of money, regardless of its origin, to manipulate foreign exchange rates, and to devise scam after scam.
These are not the "best" people; they deserve only the imposition of a very high tax rate, or a cap on their salaries, or both! "Best" people in banking, as in all other fields, do not have to be perfect, but they should be aware of, and grateful for, the taxpayers` generosity, and show some morality, at least, in their business dealings. As the CEO of Barclays said early last year, before his bank became involved in yet another scandal, "ethics need to come before profits".