Number of borrowers in arrears at nationalised B&B rockets by 200%

The number of borrowers in arrears over three months at nationalised lender Bradford & Bingley has shot up by a massive 198% in the space of a year.

B&B’s annual results for 2008 show that the number of cases in arrears by more than three months hit 16,712 at the end of last year, compared with 5,610 in 2007.

The value of cases with three months’ arrears has risen by a staggering 229%, going from £731.2m in 2007 to £2.4bn last year.

The number of cases with either three missed payments or in possession equates to 4.6% of the mortgage book, up from the 1.63% in 2007.

Arrears levels pushed up the residential loan impairments from £54.8m to £467.7m, including a £173.9m provision for suspected fraud cases.

During the year 1,503 properties were repossessed, of which 1,012 were owner-occupied and 491 were buy-to-let.

However, overall the group made a pre-tax profit of £134.3m, a rise of 7%, brought about by Treasury support and the sale of the retail deposit business to Spanish banking giant Banco Santander.

Richard Pym, executive chairman of B&B, says: “2008 was a turbulent year for British banks, and a very disappointing year for B&B. Against a deteriorating economic background the board took a series of prudent financial decisions to dispose of non-core lending portfolios to raise committed, secured wholesale funding facilities and to seek additional capital via a rights issue.”

He adds: “2009 is going to be a further year of change and the B&B team will be working hard to protect the value of our assets and to minimise the risk to taxpayers.”

Following its results last week the bank published a 10-year business plan to run down its mortgage book from £41.9bn at the end of 2008 to £36.3bn by the end of 2011.