Northern Rock said yesterday that Ann Godbehere, its recently departed finance director, received £173,000 on top of her annual £786,000 salary to fly to and from her home in Switzerland. This made her the highest paid director at Northern Rock with remuneration of £959,000.

The admission came as the state-owned lender revealed figures showing that about a third of Northern Rock’s borrowers – roughly 170,000 people – were now in negative equity. If house prices fall by around the 15% predicted this year, up to half of its mortgage loans could be in negative equity.

The lender, which made losses of £1.4bn last year, also disclosed yesterday it had made a £108,675 payment to the pension pot of Adam Applegarth, its former chief executive who is widely blamed for the bank’s plight. This was on top of the £731,629 compensation payment for loss of office.

Financial Times