High street banking giant Santander has revealed it paid 19 staff more than £1 million last year and increased its bonus pool by 14% to £150 million despite another year of hefty provisions for mis-selling scandals.
The Spanish-owned group said UK boss Ana Botin was the highest-paid executive, receiving £4 million in salary and bonuses, including a 24% rise in salary to £2.1 million last year and a £1.8 million cash-and-shares bonus.
In the latest disclosure on pay packages in the banking sector, Santander's annual report also showed recently promoted finance director Stephen Jones received £2.9 million last year - including a £1.6 million windfall relating to awards earned at his previous employer Barclays, paid as part of his package for joining in 2011.
Steve Pateman, head of UK banking, received £1.9 million in total after a £100,000 pay rise on being promoted to the role last April, while he was also awarded a £1.1 million bonus for 2012, some of which is deferred for three years, and another top executive received £2.6 million last year, while one other senior banker at the group landed £1.7 million, according to Santander's annual report.
Its pay details come just a week after Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that over 500 workers between them were paid more than £1 million last year.
Taxpayer-backed RBS said it paid 95 staff more than £1 million, while 428 employees at Barclays also picked up pay deals worth over £1 million - including five who got more than £5 million and this month HSBC revealed 204 of its staff were paid more than £1 million in the year, with 78 being based in the UK.
Santander put by another £232 million last year to cover costs such as compensation for mis-selling of interest rate swaps to small businesses, on top of £751 million set aside in 2011 for payment protection insurance claims.
The group said it had uncovered a number of former Alliance & Leicester small business customers who had potentially been mis-sold swaps, although it was looking at less than 500 cases overall.
Santander - formed from the takeover of Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and part of Bradford & Bingley - also reported falling UK profits in 2012, down 2% to £1.23 billion but the firm insisted bonuses were increased to reflect an improved performance from the UK arm last year, with after-tax profits up by 4% and net lending to small and medium sized businesses up 18% in 2012.
Santander said while Ms Botin's salary was increased last year, her bonus was reduced by 27% as it is also linked to performance at the wider Banco Santander group, which suffered a grim 2012 as profits plunged 59% after an 18.8 billion euros (£16.2 billion) hit on soured property loans in Spain.