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Ex-HBOS chief exec Sir James Crosby apologises for bank failure

Former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby says he is “very sorry” for his role in the bank’s failure in 2008.

Sir James Crosby

Giving evidence to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards yesterday, Crosby, who was in charge of HBOS between 2001 and 2006, said: “I was horrified and deeply upset by the catastrophe. It was hugely distressing to see the impact on shareholders, former colleagues and the consequences for the taxpayers.

“I am apologising for the fact that I played a major part in building a business that subsequently failed.”

Crosby admitted he has not given up any of his £8m remuneration and £572,000 pension pot from HBOS. He admitted he sold “about two-thirds” of his shares before the collapse to “balance his portfolio of assets”, but he refused to give up any of his entitlement saying he has lost money too.

PCBS chair Andrew Tyrie said: “You got out before the crash. You can understand that when the public hear you talking about balancing your portfolio of assets they will not be impressed.

“You are talking about selling two-thirds of your holdings at a time when the messages were becoming increasingly strident about the company you just left and you were busy bailing out of it.”

Crosby also refused to give up his knighthood, calling it a “huge honour”, but admitted his reputation will never be the same again.

Another former HBOS chief executive Andy Hornby, who was in charge from 2006 to 2008, also re-iterated his “heartfelt apologies” for the collapse.

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