Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan has admitted that bonuses were a "highly emotional issue", but avoided questions on whether sums could be clawed back from those who underestimated the difficulties.
I understand it is a highly emotional issue to see bonuses paid in which we are still losing money.
The issue for me as a pragmatic executive is that I need to be able to pay what it takes to actually get people to do the job for us.
When you look at RBS, we of all banks have been the one who have been pulling the pay and bonus structures down, but I do need to be in the market to get people to do these jobs.
But he warned that his best staff were constantly being "tapped on the shoulder" by other institutions.
He said: "We do see the turnover of good people and I have got to say they are in demand."
Mr McEwan insisted that "no decisions" had been taken over whether the bank would pay packages that would breach the EU's cap on bonuses of 200% of salary.
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It comes after the collapse of BHS in 2016 with a £571 million deficit in its pot for 19,000 pension holders.