Bank Bosses Enjoy Hotel Junket

Bank Bosses Enjoy Hotel Junket
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Here’s the story from the paper’s website:

"Fun day out treat for bailed-out bank bosses as 1000 staff are axed"

Date: 24 April 2009
By CHRIS MARSHALL
BANK bosses have come under fire after spending thousands of pounds on a "junket" which saw them enjoy sumo wrestling and quad biking at a top hotel – on the same day they announced plans to sack around 1000 staff.

Bank of Scotland paid for staff and mortgage brokers to take part in the team building event at the four-star Crieff Hydro yesterday.

The party was treated to a morning of quad biking before donning fat suits for a spot of sumo wrestling in the afternoon.

Politicians today criticised the event, held on the same day that Bank of Scotland’s parent company, Lloyds, said it would shed around 1000 jobs across the UK.

But the bank, which was part of the £11.5 billion taxpayers’ bailout of HBOS, said the away day was important for maintaining relationships with clients.

One source said members of middle management were among those taking part in the "junket" at the upmarket Perthshire retreat, which included lunch and dinner. It is understood some of the group also stayed at the hotel though the exact cost is unknown.

"It’s nice to know that they’re taking the health of the economy so seriously," she said.

The Hydro, which markets itself as Scotland’s leading leisure resort, advertises the team building days as a way to "beat the office blues".

When the Evening News called yesterday, a member of staff said: "They have been out quad biking with us and have just gone up to the clubhouse for some lunch. They’re doing archery at 2pm and then the sumo suits at 3.15pm."

George Foulkes, MSP for the Lothians, said: "I don’t know what it’s going to take to get through to some of these bankers. The reputation of politicians may not be that high at the moment, but bankers are way down below that. Under circumstances where the economy is progressing and banking is prospering, this may be acceptable, but under the present circumstances they really need to be keeping their noses to the grindstone."

In November, HBOS was criticised after reportedly spending £330,000 on a "staff jolly" at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield Hotel.

Irish comedian Patrick Kielty entertained 302 Halifax/Bank of Scotland mortgage staff after the Government had agreed the multi-billion pound bailout of the troubled lender.

A spokesman for Bank of Scotland said of yesterday’s event: "This is an event for brokers and enables us to continue to maintain relationships with the broker community. We are very sensitive to the financial difficulties that people are facing up and down the country and, like all companies, we are keeping a close eye on all our costs, including client events."

A DAY TO REMEMBER
AM – Quad biking Bank bosses and mortgage brokers would have been able to enjoy superb views over Strathearn while taking part in the Hydro’s all-terrain off-road driving course.

Lunch

2pm – Archery

3.15pm – Sumo wrestling Crieff Hydro offers corporate guests a range of challenges, including tug-of-war, gladiator duels and even their chance to play human table football. However, the Bank of Scotland group is understood to have plumped for sumo wrestling, where participants put on plastic fat suits and engage in the Japanese martial art.

The full article contains 550 words and appears in Edinburgh Evening News newspaper.Page 1 of 1