It’s never quiet in UK banking these days. In a fitting episode of handbags at dawn, Ana Botín, the chief executive of Santander UK, reneged on an agreement to buy 316 branches from RBS. The provisional sale agreement had been signed in the summer of 2010 when António Horta-Osório was running Santander UK. Santander wanted to expand its penetration of the small-business market and was prepared to pay £1.65 billion to do so.
Poor Hester has had an annus horribilis, starting with the public outcry over his putative bonus for 2011 and ending now with a snake on the big board of banking that snarls: "Go back to square one." And remember Hester has already waived his 2012 bonusbecause of a computer meltdown in June. So 2012 will be the second year in a row that he is confined to a base salary of some £1.2 million. No wonder saint Stephen always looks slightly petulant when captured on camera. He’s virtually doing charity work, yet no one appreciates that fact!