Kathy Sheridan: Unicorn returns to the table as bankers’ sense of entitlement strong as ever

Proposal shows bankers’ sense of entitlement has survived the banking winter

Banker pay: “Nothing to do with me, guv. It was all about science, the sacred independence of a process that required no fewer than three external consultants and unicorns.” File photograph: Getty Images

Banker pay: “Nothing to do with me, guv. It was all about science, the sacred independence of a process that required no fewer than three external consultants and unicorns.” File photograph: Getty Images

In December 2016, as the Christmas spirit was being sniffed and swirled, the chief executive of TSB, Jeremy Masding, suggested the time was right for a “mature debate” in Ireland about pay for senior bank executives. Leave aside the implication that debate to that point had been “immature”, that the little people had never quite grasped the marvels and privations of the unicorn that is a senior bank executive.

That same month, AIB had just admitted to wrongly taking large sums of money from thousands of tracker account holders (a scandal that would balloon to involve five Irish banks and nearly 35,000 customers). Earlier that year, both AIB and Bank of Ireland had fared among the worst in the European Union in banking stress tests. And an Oireachtas inquiry into the banking crash, though nobbled by legal restrictions, had dredged up salient reminders of how bankers perceive their position in society.

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