Northern Rock staff could receive generous bonuses if targets for paying back a £26bn government loan are met.
The Newcastle-based bank said 4,500 staff could benefit from the incentive scheme with potential bonuses totalling up to 60% of their annual salary over the next few years.
A spokeswoman insisted that staff would only get the bonuses if its debt repayment targets were hit.
Workers could receive 10% of their salary when a quarter of the loan is repaid in 2008 and a further 10% if three-quarters is paid off in 2009. Further discretionary payments could also be paid when the bank is eventually returned to the private sector.
Northern Rock was nationalised back in February as the first high-profile victim of the global credit crunch.
The move has been welcomed by the Unite union, which represents staff.
In a trading update last week, the company said it had reduced headcount by 1,500 staff and redeployed about 600 people to new roles across the business.