The UK arm of Spanish bank Santander handed 19 of its bankers more than £1m last year, including its chief executive Ana Botín who received £4m.
Lord Burns, the former Treasury mandarin who for a decade has chaired the former Abbey National business, which Santander bought in 2004, received a pay rise from £520,000 to £600,000 after the bank concluded he had fallen behind his peers.
To comply with a request by the UK government to disclose the pay of the eight highest-paid bankers who are not executive directors, Santander revealed they all received more than £1m and shared more than £11m in total.
European rules require the banks to disclose the number of "code staff" – those who take and manage risks. Santander employs 55 such staff who received an average of just over £830,000. The bank said four received a total of £2.8m to buy them out of deals at previous employers, while one received a payoff of £322,000.
The bank has voluntarily revealed the number of bankers paid more than £1m – following the trend set by Barclays a week ago when it published for the first time the scale of the pay of its 140,000 staff. Barclays admitted 428 of its bankers received £1m or more while bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that 95 of its staff topped the £1m pay scale.
The revelations about these pay policies led Simon Walker, the director general of the Institute of Directors, to attack the banks for making "unacceptable" payments.
"Thousands of people in those two companies alone earn more even than the prime minister. This is in scandal-hit companies who have had a far from successful year," Walker added.
Santander pulled out of a deal with RBS to buy 632 branches during the year and was hit provision for mis-selling payment protection insurance. It reported a profit of £1.1bn, down 2%.
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