A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Wimbledon 2012: RBS criticised for ‘token gesture’ – Telegraph

In Economy, Really?!? on June 27, 2012 at 22:20

Wimbledon 2012: RBS criticised for ‘token gesture’ .

The package, which is understood to cost £260,000 for the fortnight, includes a four course lunch, afternoon tea and a selection of wines.

The bailed-out bank had already paid for the suite, which overlooks the SW19 site, and admitted that the money would simply be lost.

But it declared that it would be “inappropriate” to provide client hospitality at a time when so many customers were experiencing such disruption and were unable to access their accounts and that their top staff needed to be available to deal with the computer glitch that had affected up to 17 million customers.

A source said: “It was never about the money.”

Robert Oxley, campaign manager for the TaxPayers’ Alliance said that for as long as tax payers owned a stake in RBS they would be “on the hook” for the bank’s lavish lifestyle.

“Bosses at the bank should be focused on paying taxpayers back as soon as possible, not enjoying centre court and fine dining at Wimbledon,” he said.

“RBS tried to spin it was doing the right thing by ditching the corporate hospitality but with the bill already paid it appears it was a token gesture that is too little, too late.”

The menu for Wednesday, which had already been paid for and ordered, included smoked salmon, parma ham, fig and goat’s cheese salad, smoked Gressingham duck breast, coronation chicken with toasted almonds and apricots, a selection of salads, desserts and a cheese board.

Staff in the suite were unaware that the bank, 82 per cent of which is owned by the tax payer, had decided not to take up the hospitality package on Tuesday evening and were expecting more than 40 people for lunch the following day.

However, the much sought-after corporate suite remained empty yesterday and the food and drink wasted.

RBS clients were told that they could still take up their seats on the tennis courts to ensure that they did not remain empty.

The bank has booked 48 seats for each of the first nine days of Wimbledon on Centre Court and No 1 court and 24 on Centre Court for the last four days.

Sources said the decision to ditch the hospitality came “from the top” after Stephen Hester, the chief executive, realised his employees were entertaining clients despite customers still having difficulties accessing money.

It was claimed that he had to “smooth the water” with around 500 clients who were told by email that they were no longer welcome.

In a statement, the bank said: Technical issues have caused considerable disruption to many of our retail and business customers, as well as customers of other banks.


  1. Reblogged this on calmyourbeans.

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