Bradford Bingley and Other Stories

For many of a certain age, Bradford & Bingley and their adverts of two gentleman wearing bowler hats, have been part of the fabric of all that is decent and British for a while.

Apart from the mis-management of Charcol, (in my own humble opinion and without prejudice etc), B&B had a nice, cosy and warm image and were intrinsically linked to the local community.

Of course it has come as no surprise what has happened, and unlike the Northern Rock debacle, the Government have acted swiftly to protect those with savings by hiving them off to Santander, whilst the taxpayer will own a few billion more pounds worth of mortgages.

According to The Times, “the deal will make Santander one of the biggest players in UK savings, with around 10 per cent of the UK market and 24 million customers, including B&B’s 2.7 million depositors.”

The Spanish “super-bank” has become a massive force following on from acquisitions of Abbey and Alliance & Leicester.

In a classic example of the Government not being able to please everyone, they have come under fire for this from existing shareholders, surprise surprise.

Roger Lawson, communications director at the UK Shareholders Association, said the move seemed “to be another case, like Northern Rock, where the rights of shareholders to have a say in what happens to the company they own was being overridden by the Government”.

I understand their frustrations, but I am not sure what other choice the government had, damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

As ever my thoughts go to the very good people, particularly round the corner from my home in Borehamwood, and to the team at Mortgage Express, who I rate highly.

Unfortunately whether or not the US bail-out scheme goes through there could be more to come very soon.

Finally, a word from the Mortgage Mole today. It is sad, but food for thought.

If you had purchased £1000 of Northern Rock shares one year ago it would now be worth £4.95, with HBOS, earlier this week your £1000 would have been worth £16.50, £1000 invested in XL Leisure would now be worth less than £5.

However, if you bought £1000 worth of Tennents Lager one year ago, drank it all, then took the empty cans to an aluminum re-cycling plant, you would get £214.

So based on the above statistics the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.