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Bonus payouts as Rock steadies.

NORTHERN Rock today said it was paying staff pounds 14.9m in bonuses after losses narrowed last year.

The bank reported a pre-tax shortfall of pounds 257.5m for the 12 months to December 31, compared with a pounds 1.36bn loss in 2008.

Northern Rock, which completed its restructure into "good" and "bad" banks at the turn of the year, said the bonus payment came after staff met agreed objectives over the year.

Chief executive Gary Hoffman waived his entitlement to a bonus under the scheme and the bank said it was designing a reward scheme for him that would take into account the performances of both of the newly created banks.

The bonus payments for Northern Rock staff include a pounds 1.5m pay-out under the Chancellor's one-off windfall tax, as 32 employees received rewards of pounds 25,000 or more. Senior management will receive their 2009 bonuses in three equal annual instalments, beginning this month, and will be subject to clawback.

Mr Hoffman said the bank's results were "encouraging", with underlying pre-tax losses of pounds 383.3m bettering Government targets by pounds 500m.

"There is no reward for failure," he said. "I understand that we are still loss-making but we have beaten the target and we have substantially improved financially."

He added that while it was right that most of the improvement goes to the taxpayer, some should be given to staff.

Mr Hoffman said most of the Northern Rock workers to benefit were on average salaries of pounds 20,000 to pounds 25,000 in Newcastle and Sunderland.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2010
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