Taxpayer-backed NatWest set to hand bankers a £298m pay bonanza – a 44% increase compared to 2020
- Around 28,000 bankers at NatWest will take a slice of the pie
- The pay is 44% larger than a year earlier when bonuses were slashed
NatWest bankers will share a bonus pool of £298million for 2021 – even though the lender is still half-owned by the taxpayer.
Around 28,000 staff at NatWest will take a slice of the pie, which is 44 per cent larger than a year earlier when bonuses were slashed during the pandemic.
The rewards were still 19 per cent lower than pre-pandemic. But they came after a year when NatWest has slashed its investment banking division, whose staff typically took some of the largest pay packets.
NatWest chief executive Alison Rose last year bagged £3.6m, up from £2.6m a year earlier
Defending the bonuses, chief executive Alison Rose said: ‘We have shown significant restraint if you look across the industry. [The bonus pool] does reflect the strong performance and if you look at our pool it is down on pre-Covid.’
Unlike most major banking bosses, Rose does not take a cash bonus. But last year she bagged £3.6million, up from £2.6million a year earlier when she gave up some of her pay due to the pandemic, including a £1.1million salary, £1.1million in shares and an ‘incentive’ award paid in shares of £1.2million.
NatWest revealed it had returned to profit, raking in £3billion compared to a £753million loss in 2020. Most of this was due to the bank releasing cash it had earmarked for potential Covid losses.
The wave of redundancies and business closures which some expected when the pandemic hit has never materialised, and last year NatWest freed up £1.3billion of the £3.2billion it set aside a year earlier.
Despite the sunnier outlook for the economy, Rose said she was ‘acutely aware’ of the challenges which rises in the cost of living were presenting for NatWest’s customers.
‘We’re focused on making sure we’re helping customers because if you look at rising inflation and the cost of living, these are challenges for businesses and families – it’s not something they’ve faced in the last 10-15 years.’