Santander, the bank, has been caught out paying a whopping 248 million euros into the pension funds of its directors. This is on top of 40,1 million in salary and “expenses” claimed by the aforementioned directors, all during 2011. The news comes courtesy of a leak to El Mundo.
There are currently 20 directors, but in order to cut costs and bring the bank into line with austerity Santander had announced, today, that it will reduce the board to just 16 members “in order to save the bank money”.
Mind you, nobody is out on the street – one of the directors who “left” is actually dead, and another is taking retirement (hence, I suppose, the pension). It’s more a case of not replacing the fallen, rather than firing the fat. A couple of “non-exec” directors are being named, but they don’t, it seems, count. (From Europa Press).
Remember, we’re not talking about UK style bonus to bankers, where people who work hard in banks making lots of money get a cut of the action. This is a huge wad of cash to 20 very rich, very important Spaniards who decided to line their pockets whilst at the same time firing bank employees to save money. Not people who sit in front of computers making transactions. Fat cats who actually run the bank.
On top of all this, they also received a further 18,7 million euros in personal loans from the bank.
Remember – if you have an account with Santander, everytime you get charged for a transaction, or overdraft… that’s where these 20 directors pension fund is coming from.
According to the unions, Santander carried out a “covert mass redundency plan” in 2011, in which they destroyed some 250 jobs across the country by firing people individually and not replacing them. This was done, according to CCOO and UGT, in order to save the paperwork – much easier to fire one person here, another there, instead of going to the state and asking for permission to fire 250 people at once. Fair enough. Cunning.
The news comes just a few days after I received a terse letter from RBS informing me that I have been sold to Santander in the UK. Seems my UK bank account with RBS has been handed over to Santander. This is a bad deal for Santander UK, as they have bought an account which will be closed the very next time I land in the UK. In fact, I may very well have a little holiday in the UK just to transact some financial arrangements. All I need is a nice bank to transfer my account to.