Take away my knighthood, says disgraced Harrogate banker James Crosby

James Crosby at his home, Glendevon House, in Beckwithshaw. (near Harrogate). (Jonathan Pow/Ross Parry Agency)
James Crosby at his home, Glendevon House, in Beckwithshaw. (near Harrogate). (Jonathan Pow/Ross Parry Agency)

Former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby, who lives in Harrogate, has today said he would ask for his knighthood to be removed and will forgo 30% of his pension following last week’s scathing report into the bank’s collapse.

The gesture comes in the wake of a damning report into the collapse of the bank by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, set up by David Cameron last year to see what went wrong in Britain’s banking system.

It found Sir James was the “architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster’’ and held primary responsibility for the collapse of HBOS along with former chairman Lord Stevenson and fellow chief executive Andy Hornby.

Their “toxic” misjudgments led to the bank’s downfall and £20.5bn taxpayer bail-out at the height of the financial crisis and they should never be allowed to work in the financial sector again, according to the influential commission of MPs and peers.

Sir James, who lives in Beckwithshaw, stepped down from his role as a member of the advisory board of private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, the owners of Leeds Bradford Aiport, on Friday.

But he remains chairman of the car credit company Money Barn and a senior independent director for Compass, one of the country’s largest catering firms, according to company spokespeople, as well as a trustee for Cancer Research UK.

Sir James said today he was “deeply sorry” for what happened at HBOS and the “ensuing consequences” for the bailed-out bank’s staff, shareholders and taxpayers.

The bank’s former boss was given a knighthood after leaving HBOS in 2006, but said he believed “it is right that I should now ask the appropriate authorities to take the necessary steps for its removal”.

Leeds-born Sir James, who was chief executive of the Halifax Building Society during the 1990s before taking charge of HBOS following the merger, walked away with a pension worth a reported £570,000 a year.

According to reports, accounting for inflation that would have risen to £700,000 a year, requiring a pension pot worth as much as £25m.