The boss of taxpayer-backed NatWest group is to give up pay and bonuses worth up to £2.3m as the coronavirus crisis weighs on UK households and businesses.
Chief executive Alison Rose, who receives a fixed salary of £2.24m a year, will give a quarter of the money she is due to be paid during the last nine months of 2020 to a coronavirus appeal fund.
She has also said she does not wish to be considered for any variable pay – worth up to £1.92m – for the year.
Later, Lloyds Banking Group said its top executives had asked not to be considered for their bonus entitlements for 2020 “in solidarity with the communities in which we operate and in recognition of the priorities of our stakeholders”.
Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio could otherwise have been in line for a maximum bonus worth up to about £1.8m.
There were similar moves from HSBC and Standard Chartered. Barclays and TSB had announced on Tuesday that senior executives would give up some pay.
NatWest, which has been rebranded from its former name of Royal Bank of Scotland, remains 62% owned by the taxpayer after its bailout during the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
The group also said that its £750,000-a-year chairman, Howard Davies, would give 25% of his pay for the remainder of the year to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) coronavirus appeal.
The appeal is raising funds for local charities and grassroots organisations to provide immediate support to people affected by the crisis.
Ms Rose said on Wednesday: “In the current environment, many of our customers are worried about their jobs and their businesses and, in recognition of this, I have taken these decisions on my own pay.”
NatWest has already pledged to match donations up to £5m made by customers to the NET appeal to the end of June.
Banks such as NatWest are key components of the government’s plans to extend loans to struggling businesses and help households unable to meet repayments as much of the economy grinds to a halt during lockdown.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ms Rose told Sky’s Ian King Live that the bank’s call centres were handling 25,000 calls a day compared to 3,000 in normal times.
She added that close to 70,000 mortgage holidays had been approved, as well as more than 1,700 loans under the government’s scheme to support struggling firms.
Last week, banks including NatWest cancelled dividends for shareholders until the end of 2020 after pressure from the Bank of England.
The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority also said that it expected banks not to pay any cash bonuses to its top members of staff.