In case my banging on about Hornby and Stevenson is not setting the heather on fire…remember that they were among top executives who left HBOS with 6 figure redundancy payments and large pension funds while more than 40,000 employees lost their jobs and 2 million small shareholders lost their life savings. To say nothing of the billions HBOS owes taxpayers.
So, stay angry and stay tuned to Parliament television for live streaming of evidence from former CEOs James Crosby and Andy Hornby and chairman Lord Stevenson to Parliamentary Commission today (Monday 3rd) and tomorrow. This time they will not escape cross-examination.
To labour the point, here are a few extracts from the book describing the life-shattering drama that unfolded for the bank’s employees in October 2008 when, even as the terms for Lloyds takeover were agreed, the cash value of HBOS was dropping by the day.
Inside HBOS, staff who were also shareholders were watching their savings evaporate. According to employee and trade union rep Margaret Taylor, staff had often taken shares as part or all of their salary increases. It was not uncommon for someone working as a teller on £15,000 to £18,000 having built up £20,000 in shares.
“When the HBOS share price began to go down, nobody believed that it would collapse. It was at £11 and then to go to £9, £8…Nobody sold their shares because they thought it would go back up. The message we got from senior management on a weekly basis was: ‘This is a strong bank…We have a strong asset base”.
“People really watched in disbelief – and I do mean watched, because the share price was on the intranet and they could watch in daily, live, every 15 minutes – as they began to lose their life savings”.
As you prepare to watch Crosby, Hornby and Stevenson appear before Lord Turnbull’s enquiry, remember also this. While staff and small shareholders lost jobs and life savings, no HBOS executives left the top floor empty-handed. The FSA has subsequently fined Peter Cummings but so far the rest have not been made to pay a penny. Mike Ellis received redundancy of £670,500, Philip Gore-Randall £568,000, Colin Matthew £656,403. In addition, Matthew’s £9 million pension fund would produce a pension of £416,000 and Hornby’s £2 million would produce £240,000 on retirement.
This cross-examination is long overdue.