Senior banking executives have told a committee of MPs they are reassessing their pay structures.
John Varley, chief executive of Barclays, said some aspects of compensation had not served "either the industry or the society well".
Other banks, whose bosses are being grilled, include Abbey, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Lloyds.
The Treasury Committee is conducting a two-day hearing into the banking crisis, including the issue of bonuses.
UK managing director, HSBC, 55
Salary: Not disclosed
Joined HSBC in 1975
The five men appearing before the committee include Eric Daniels, the current head of Lloyds, RBS chief executive Stephen Hester, Abbey chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio and HSBC's UK managing director Paul Thurston.
There has been public anger over bonuses being paid to bankers, at a time when other parts of the economy are being hit hard as the number of job losses increases.
On Tuesday, former bosses of RBS and HBOS apologised for their banks' failure.
Before the meeting started, former deputy prime minister John Prescott presented a petition, with some 23,000 signatures, to the House of Commons Treasury Committee, demanding RBS pay no bonuses to its bankers and traders.
Chief executive, Lloyds Banking Group, 57
Salary: £2,884,000, including bonus and benefits (2007)
Entered banking in 1975 with Citibank, where he spent 25 years
The committee head John McFall, who said he had been sent numerous e-mails and letters on the issue of pay, asked the bosses: "As institutions, why do you think you are hated so much by the public?"
Mr Varley said he understood why it was a matter of concern and interest, "and in some cases, anger".
"If you look at the failure in the banking system over the last two years, it is clear that the banks have contributed to that failure and it is clear that part of that problem has been the issue of compensation," he added.
Lloyds Bank chief executive Eric Daniels is expected not to take his 2008 bonus, the BBC understands.
Banking bosses justify paying bonuses
The BBC's business editor Robert Peston says Mr Daniels could have been entitled to a bonus in excess of £2m.
Executive pay has come under fire after reports Royal Bank of Scotland was considering paying bonuses, despite being bailed out by the taxpayer.
Mr Daniels was paid almost £2.9m in 2007, including bonus and benefits.
His decision to waive his bonus is a personal one and does not represent policy by the Lloyds Banking Group board, according to our business editor.
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) says bankers' bonuses in the UK are likely to be down 70% from their peak in 2007.
The CEBR forecasts that even in 2012, bonuses will be only back to 48% of their 2007 peak levels.
And it said increased competition and tougher regulatory control could help tackle the problem of excessive fees and pay.
Chief executive, Royal Bank of Scotland, 47
Salary: £1.2m, no bonus (2008)
Joined RBS in October 2008 from British Land
As well as presenting a petition, Mr Prescott has written an open letter to RBS chief executive Stephen Hester, calling for him to stop the bonus payout.
In the letter, he calls the decision even to consider paying £1bn in bonuses after the bank posted a loss of £28bn "both morally and economically outrageous".
Mr Hester told the committee he empathised "100% with the public mood" about bonuses.
"I do think banking pay in some areas of the industry is way too high and needs to come down and I intend us to lead that process," he said.
"There will be no bonus of any sort [paid] to anyone associated with the losses we have made."
The Prime Minister has already signalled his anger at proposed bank bonuses.
ANTONIO HORTA OSORIO
Chief executive, Abbey Bank, 44
Salary: Not disclosed
Joined Abbey in 2004 and was appointed chief exec in 2006
Gordon Brown said on Monday that executives should "consider whether they actually receive" bonuses, even if they we legally entitled to them.
Speaking on Tuesday, the former bank chiefs also said the bonus culture had contributed to the crisis and needed to be reviewed.
Former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin told MPs on the Treasury Committee he "could not be more sorry" for what had happened.
But on the issue of remuneration, Sir Fred said if bankers felt they were not paid enough, they would leave.
Bosses' pay at UK banks receiving government support
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.