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News Link • Economy - International

RBS says pay row "damaging" as losses mount

• By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON (Reuters) - State-owned Royal Bank of Scotland paid out nearly a billion pounds in bonuses to staff for last year despite posting a fourth-quarter loss of nearly 2 billion pounds after big losses in Greece and Ireland and costly restructuring.

RBS, 82 percent owned by the government after being rescued during the 2008 credit crisis, had a fourth-quarter loss of 1.8 billion pounds. The full-year loss stood at 2 billion, the fourth straight year in which it has made an annual loss.

It paid out 390 million pounds in bonuses for its investment bankers for 2011, down 58 percent from 2010, and representing an average bonus of 22,900 pounds per banker.

Chief Executive Stephen Hester said the payout was far lower than at rivals like Barclays and that the bank had to hire good staff to drive through his turnaround plan.

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