Two new executives at Santander UK were paid a total of £2.8m in "golden hellos" last year, cutting across much stricter bank pay rules being introduced by the European Union.
The finance director Stephen Jones, who joined in March 2012, collected £2.9m, including £1.6m to buy out deferred share awards he lost when he left Barclays.
Santander UK's annual report also showed its highest-paid senior executive below board level received £2.5m, including £1.2m to buy out awards from a previous employer.
The executive is not named, but is likely to have been Charlotte Hogg, head of retail distribution, who joined from Experian.
Some investors dislike golden hellos, because they are paid before any work has been done.
The Swiss bank UBS provoked outrage on Thursday when it emerged that it had given its new investment bank chief Andrea Orcel a £17m package. "We don't agree to golden hellos but occasionally we will agree to buy out historical accrued awards or bonuses that have been earned," a spokesman for Santander said.
The spokesman said it was considered on an individual basis for top staff.
Santander UK's chief executive Ana Botin was paid £4m in 2012, down 3 per cent on 2011.
Santander had already revealed at the Spanish parent company level that she was paid €5.1m (£4.4m) and was the only main board member to receive a rise.
Santander plans to spin off and float its UK arm, but probably not until 2014 at the earliest. "The timing of this will remain subject to market conditions and to the emergence of a more positive outlook towards UK banks from investors," the annual report said.Santander said that 19 UK employees were paid more than £1m and that the overall bonus pool increased by 14 per cent last year despite a 2 per cent fall in profits.Reuse content