For Royal Bank of Scotland's management, the decision to bow to pressure and cut back bonuses by nearly two thirds no doubt looked like a fine concession.
In fairness, it was certainly better than the usual brass-necked disdain. But the fact that the total bonus pot can be shrunk by 60 per cent and still total £400m – and that in an institution that has made a loss for the past four years running and is majority-owned by the taxpayer – only emphasises how disconnected bankers still are from the rest of us.
Where, outside of the financial industry, would such a situation be tenable? And with RBS expected to reveal another £2bn worth of losses this morning, one can only speculate about how many of those dipping into the giant bonus pool have really worked beyond the call of duty.
How far there is to go before the banks join the real world again.