Supermarkets 1, Banks 0 (but it’s not even half-time)

Tomorrow's Business

It is early days yet in the crisis, but it is already possible to see some corporate winners and losers, from a PR point of view, anyway.

The banks seem to have forgotten they were bailed out by the taxpayer in 2008 and seemed to think they could carry on as normal, more or less.

Supermarkets have done rather better, moved rather faster.

Today M&S said staff will get a 15% coronavirus bonus as thanks for their hard work.

In contrast, until last night when the Bank of England set them straight, the banks were still planning to pay out multi-billions in dividends.

Privately, the banks say they could afford it, and note that some of the money would have gone to pension funds who need the cash.

There might be a case for paying divis, but that would ignore how it looks – which is utterly terrible.

The decision to dither over what was obvious last week – that banks would be ordered to put divis on hold – rests with the chairmen, not the corporate affairs department.

It is still a horrible PR blunder. Do bank chairmen (they are all men) not watch the news?

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