2007年9月15日 星期六

危機 Northern Rock scrambled to contain the fallout

星期六英國各大報紙都在頭版報道英國房屋抵押貸款機構Northern Rock面臨危機的消息。

幾分大報都刊登了大批恐慌的客戶在Northern Rock分行排隊提款的相片。

周五傳出消息說,英格蘭銀行決定出面解救Northern Rock的資金不靈問題。


《每日電訊報》報道,就在星期五一天之內,Northern Rock就被客戶提走了10億英鎊的現金。


《獨立報》一篇評論指出,對於Northern Rock來說這是一場災難,對於我們普通市民來說,這標誌著容易借錢的日子已經一去不復返。

大批客戶擠在Northern Rock分行外
大批客戶擠在Northern Rock分行外


《泰晤士報》報道說,就在成千上萬客戶爭先恐後提款之際,Northern Rock的股價在周五急挫了31%,一下子減少了9億英鎊的市值。

Northern Rock是英國第五大按揭貸款機構,佔了英國貸款市場的18.3%。消息傳出後,英國其它金融機構的股價因此相繼受挫。

Alliance & Leicester以及Paragon Group分別下跌了7%和17%。

《衛報》引述消息人士稱,Northern Rock不是唯一一家有問題的貸款機構,可能還會陸續有來。



該報認為,英格蘭銀行的拯救行動未能挽回客戶對Northern Rock的信心。


報道引述專家擔心,在全球資金緊縮的困境下,可能還會有其它金融機構面對與Northern Rock相似的情況。

Scramble to quit UK mortgage lender

By Peter Thal Larsen in London

Published: September 14 2007 20:40 | Last updated: September 14 2007 20:40

The turmoil in global banking hit the streets of Britain on Friday as thousands of Northern Rock customers queued up to withdraw their savings from the UK mortgage lender after it was rescued by the Bank of England.

As regulators and politicians called for calm, Northern Rock – Britain’s fifth-biggest mortgage lender – scrambled to contain the fallout after it became the first British bank in decades to be bailed out by regulators. One person close to the situation said customers had withdrawn about $2bn Friday but Northern Rock declined to comment on the figure, which would amount to 4 per cent of its deposit base.

The rescue demonstrates the risks from a decade of financial innovation in the capital markets, which allowed a small regional lender to wield financial clout far greater than its network of 76 branches would suggest.

It also shows how the turmoil in the financial system that resulted from excessive lending to Americans with patchy credit histories triggered the failure of a bank with no direct links to the US mortgage market.


Chris Hughes

UK Daily View: Chris Hughes explains how the UK mortgage lender has suffered from the credit squeeze

US Daily View: Thorold Barker on how the Bank of England‘s approach to a liquidity crisis differed from the Federal Reserve’s

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Customers queue at branches

Shares in Northern Rock plunged more than 30 per cent as analysts slashed their earnings forecasts for the bank. The news also dragged down share prices for other UK banks such as Alliance & Leicester, HBOS and Barclays.

The FTSE 100 saw sharp falls until US markets opened and helped soften the bearish tone. As the day wore on, sentiment soured again. The list of leading UK shares ended 74.6 points lower, almost 1.2 per cent down at 6,289.3. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was 16.2 points lower at 1508.1, 1.1 per cent down.

In the US, equity markets pared early losses after economic data showed retail sales, excluding sales of vehicles, fell sharply in August. The data cemented investors’ expectations of at least a quarter-point interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve when policymakers meet on Tuesday.

The commerce department reported retail sales fell 0.4 per cent in August, excluding vehicle sales, compared with forecasts of a 0.1 per cent rise, and a 0.7 per cent increase in retail sales in July. The S&P500 was down 0.1 per cent to 1,482.45 by midday in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of blue-chip stocks fell 0.01 per cent to 13,423.66.

Financials were among the worst performers, after Merrill Lynch, the world’s largest brokerage, warned that shaky credit markets had forced it to adjust the value of securities linked to risky subprime mortgages.

Concern over Northern Rock and the ability of UK banks to maintain new mortgage lending at attractive rates added to concerns about the housing market and the economy in general.

Under the terms of the bail-out, the Bank of England will provide an open-ended facility to Northern Rock, allowing it to access liquidity by posting mortgages or mortgage-backed securities as collateral. The rescue – finalised yesterday after days of negotiations involving the Financial Services Authority and the UK Treasury – came just two days after Mervyn King, governor of the Bank, insisted it would not intervene to bail out the markets.

According to people familiar with the matter, several banks considered buying Northern Rock. However, a deal was undermined by a shortage of liquidity and uncertainty about Northern Rock’s value. Adam Applegarth, Northern Rock’s chief executive, said the bank was not in talks with a buyer.

Additional reporting by Chris Giles, Lina Saigol, Paul J Davies and Saskia Scholtes in London