No sympathy for the bankers

Posted: 1 April 2011 in Uncategorized
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In the Netherlands, people have finally figured out the nature of the game being played by the bankers. They threatened to withdraw their funds from Amsterdam-based ING over the bonuses promised to CEO Jan Hommen and other directors—and, within days, fearing a run on the bank, the bank executives were forced to waive the awards.

According to the Observer [ht: mwg],

ING customers mobilised on Twitter and other social networks to protest at bonuses paid to bosses at the bank, one of the biggest in the country. The threat of direct action raised the spectre of a partial run on ING, terrifying the Dutch establishment. Fred Polhout, union organiser at the bank, says: “People were outraged. We heard about the bloated sums being paid again in the City and in New York; but suddenly the issue exploded on our own front door.”

Compared with the packages awarded to bankers in the US and UK, the Dutch bonuses were small potatoes. Jan Hommen, ING’s chief executive, was due to receive a £1m bonus – a pittance when you consider that Stephen Hester, head of state-controlled RBS in the UK, is in line for up to £7.7m, Bob Diamond of Barclays is to collect as much as £6.5m, and some senior bankers at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are looking at windfalls of about £40m each.

“Perhaps we are so upset because we are a small country that prefers to set an example, rather than follow others,” suggests Polhout.

Apparently, the bankers were shocked at the lack of “courtesy” and “sympathy” on the part of the Dutch. That just indicates how far removed these men “of wealth and taste” are from the other 99 percent.

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