Stephen Hester: Don't demonise the banking industry

The chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, told the Today program that he still felt he deserved the controversial £1million bonus, but conceded that the banking industry had made mistakes
The chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, told the Today program that he still felt he deserved the controversial £1million bonus, but conceded that the banking industry had made mistakes

The chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, told the Today program that he still felt he deserved the controversial £1million bonus, but conceded that the banking industry had made mistakes:

"I think hubris set in but let's not demonise a whole industry. Let's not demonise something that is fundamental to the world economy that employs millions of people even today.

"We need to correct the areas where that job was done poorly but we shouldn't forget banking is important, financial services are important.

"I came to the conclusion that it would be actually indulgent for me to resign and that what I ought to do was to draw if you like on the reserves of strength I have and try to make RBS a success.


"But I think it is important to come back to and we've lost sight in this debate, of what we're trying to accomplish at RBS and why that's important and why that's valuable.

"One of the central questions for society is not how do we divide the pie, but whether we have a pie at all, how do we get economic growth and how are we successful, and I think it's really vital that we not lose sight of that point.

"I believe in a progressive tax system. I have no problem paying more tax. But I don't think, if you like, cutting off success or cutting down success is the way to go about fairness in society."
 

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