Do the banks care what people think of them? Obviously not. In fact they couldn't give a toss.
Look at Barclays:
This is what "pay for performance," as practised by Barclays, looks like: in a year in which profits fell by a third, shareholders' dividends were flat and the share price went sideways, 481 employees collected £1m or more. That was 53 more than in 2012.
At the top of the tree, eight individuals got more than £5m, and another 54 earned between £2.5m and £5m. Again, those tallies were higher than in 2012. Overall, the bonus pool was increased from £2.2bn to £2.4bn.
If this division of spoils – bumper hand-outs for senior staff while shareholders get scraps – strikes you as a distortion of capitalism, you are not alone. Even the Institute of Directors, the bosses' club, is flabbergasted that Barclays has the nerve to hand out bonuses worth three times the dividend pay-out to shareholders. "For whom is this institution being run?" it wonders. Quite.Then there are Lloyds and HSBC:
Bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays have handed their bosses almost £1m in shares to sidestep the new rules from Brussels which are intended to clampdown on bankers' pay.
Similar handouts, which have become known in the City as "allowances", will be given to about 1,000 staff at Barclays and some 75 bankers at Lloyds. Barclays is facing outcry about its increased bonus payouts, which are being awarded despite a sharp fall in profits in 2013.
Barclays has agreed a £18,000-a-week shares payout for its chief executive Antony Jenkins, who earns a salary of £1.1m a year. Lloyds' boss António Horta-Osório is getting almost the same size allowance, after receiving a total pay package of £7.5m last year.
The new allowances at Barclays and Lloyds follow a move by HSBC last month to hand its boss, Stuart Gulliver, £1.7m in shares a year to get around the bonus cap, which the EU introduced on 1 January and the chancellor George Osborne is fighting in the courts.
Amazing to think that the bankers keep on getting away with it. At least the EU is trying to bring them to heel. And from our own dear government: not a cheep ...