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Banks score own goal with bonus culture defence

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In the blink of an eye it look as if the City is “booming” again after Barclays and HSBC announced buoyant investment banking earnings on Monday.

Both banks were hit by a surge in bad debts as the recession took its toll on borrowers, but analysts said that resurgent debt and foreign exchange trading and market share grabbed from troubled rivals fuelled the largely positive results.

Barclays announced an eight percent rise in profits for the first six months of the year to almost three billion pounds, while HSBC reported profits of the same amount, though this was half what they made during the same period in 2008.

The results have led to speculation that some City workers will once again receive bumper bonus packages just months after the banking sector was bailed out by the taxpayer.

Schadenfreude – the new City currency?

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Is it me or is Schadenfreude on the march? In the midst of all the headlines about wealthy bankers facing the ‘new reality’ of unemployment and comment about them not being terribly worthy of sympathy on account of their vast past bonuses, it’s as well to remember that not everyone can be sanguine about being cast out of work and that every job lost is a potential human tragedy.

 When big employers like Lehman Brothers collapse and others shed vast numbers of staff, there will be numerous people who face severe difficulties. And that’s something that some of those who seem to be revelling in the bankers’ misfortune would do well to remember.

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