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The bonus round

Are these guys sorry for taking wads of cash? Or sorry that they got flack for doing so?

March 23, 2011 12:30 by

Why is that people who do something wrong always see the light when they get caught?

Case in point is news of ING CEO Jan Hommen giving up his $1.8 million bonus only AFTER outrage and threat of a boycott. Kipp can’t help wonder what in the four-letter-word was he thinking?!

An article in Arab News said Hommen, who is on a $1.9 million salary, is “voluntarily” giving up his bonus and that other managers will follow suit, including forgoing a 2 per cent pay rise this year.


Kipp hardly thinks there is anything voluntary about giving up huge sums of money, especially since the willingness to do so only comes after so much criticism.

“We have underestimated the signal this sends to society.” ING spokesman Raymond Vermeulen confirmed in a letter to Dutch daily De Volkskrant.

You think?

Wasn’t there one moment before these payouts were exposed that anyone stopped to think about the effect it will have on the consumer’s trust and the bank’s reputation?

Maybe it was just too hard to see anything passed all those zeroes.

Okay, so there’s the vaguely valid argument of people being paid what their contractually due. After all, ING reported a net profit of $4.6 billion in 2010, recovering from a loss of $1.3 billion in 2009—its first profit in three years.

Considering, however, that the bank still owes half of the state aid it received in 2008 (that’s about $7 billion!), Kipp would think any kind of immediate compensation would be far from everyone’s mind.

Kipp is just as disappointed as ING’s customers. Three years of the banking sector barely getting their head above water and the first signs of growth only prove the banking and finance sector hardly learned any lessons.

So Kipp wants to know: are these guys sorry for taking wads of cash? Or sorry that got flack for doing so?

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