Bank paid four top men more than €500,000 each
Cap-busting contracts were 'either in place or accepted '
BANK of Ireland paid at least four executives more than €500,000 last year, according to the bank's annual report, which was published along with the results yesterday.
The bank reported that chief executive Richie Boucher, finance director John O'Donovan, retail head Des Crowley and capital markets boss Denis Donovan all earned more than the half-million cap imposed on the chief executives of banks that receive state guarantees. Mr Boucher earned €690,000 in salary, pension and benefits, according to the report.
The bank is only obliged to report the salaries and benefits of directors.
It does not have to report the salaries of traders and other employees, who can earn more than their bosses if they enjoy a good year.
Mr Boucher is not the only bank chief executive to earn more than twice the Taoiseach's salary; Anglo Irish boss Mike Aynsley earned €974,000 last year as the bank paid for flights back to his native Australia and the rent on his home in Dublin.
Asked how the bank had managed to pay all of its executive directors more than the banking pay cap, Mr Boucher said the "contracts were either already in place or accepted by the Government".
The bank, which is one third owned by the State, was forced to apologise to the Dail earlier this year for misleading former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan about bonuses paid to some bank employees.
Mr Boucher made national headlines again last year when the bank topped up his pension.
Yesterday, Mr Boucher hinted he would stay in place even if the bank does fall into majority state ownership.
"I have a huge belief that this is a good bank, and also that this is an economy that will recover," he said. "I have a job to do and I will do that job to the best of my ability."
Mr Boucher said the bank had had no further communication from the Financial Regulator about a recently announced review into fitness and probity standards of executives and directors who were in place when their banks needed to be bailed out.
Asked if he expected the review to herald any changes at the bank, Mr Boucher said: "We work with the Financial Regulator".