On Friday, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) released its fourth quarter and full year results for 2009. RBS reported that its net loss for the Q4 year was a better-than-expected £765 million, bringing RBS’s 2009 net losses to £3.6 billion. These numbers represent a significant improvement, the report stated, from the £24.3 billion loss for 2008.

In discussion that is likely to attract significant attention, RBS management also stated that its decision to pay £1.3 billion bonuses for 2009 was “necessary to retain and motivate staff who are critical to the recovery of RBS,” while noting that its ratio of compensation to revenues was 27 percent, well below last year's 80 percent. RBS also acknowledged that it failed to meet the lending goals established as a condition of its receipt of government assistance.