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A Day On The Rock

Yesterday was one of those mad PR days which were very enjoyable but lots of rushing about and talking till my throat dried up. The subject? Good old Northern Rock.

First up was Working Lunch which is a programme I really enjoy watching anyway. Declan & Naga really make you feel relaxed which helps so much as I tend to suffer from pre-match nerves.

I was on with a lovely lady talking about Fair Trade and a good guy who has an interesting clothes swapping concept which is doing rather well on the internet. Check out http://www.bigwardrobe.com.

After that I was whisked away to a BBC Radio 5-Live interview and sitting next to me was none other than Robert Peston himself. He has a relaxed air about him and was friendly and down-to-earth, kindly helping me out with one question.

Finally after a plethora of journalists had called I did the afternoon business slot on BBC Radio 2 – with Chris Evans setting off Whoopee Cushions in the background – very entertaining.

And so to the issue of the day. Northern Rock getting access to funds to actually lend out to new punters could represent one of the most important aspects of government intervention. Although it could be viewed as a massive U-Turn, there is nothing wrong with a change of policy if it is the right one.

There is no point in just letting Northern Rock wind itself down, which amongst other things would be a major insult to the fine people of the North-East, who as Peston himself said, have shown an enormous determination to make Northern Rock work again.

The main question is what will the products look like. Obviously we are not going to see products above 90% and I don’t suspect that they will rush out highly competitive 90% deals straight away either. More likely it will be a carefully phased roll out of products, priced to make
money.

But at the moment any 90% product on a decent five year fixed rate that is not ridiculously overpriced will be most welcome.

If they do just concentrate on the 75% and below level then it will not have much impact, there is enough of a bun-fight down there anyway.

It is no real surprise that the government have decided to do this. They have had no success “telling” banks to begin lending again and their only option is to use the banks they, or rather we, own outright.

My favourite phrase at the moment is “the devil is in the details”, and I await with baited breath to see what these new products will be.

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