The struggling bank may see as much as 10 billion pounds of cash from the government to ramp up mortgage lending. The Treasury has yet to make a final decision, which may also see the bank hiring new staff. Spokesmen for the Treasury and Northern Rock, which is due to unveil a new business plan in the next few weeks, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Northern Rock the first British casualty of the credit crunch, revealed that it had been forced to seek emergency support from the Bank of England in September 2007. The bank has been nationalized since early 2008 after attempts to find a private sector buyer fell through. Northern Rock has been shrinking its mortgage book and focusing on repaying a government loan since its nationalisation.
5 billion pounds of new equity would allow Northern Rock to write about 50 billion pounds of new lending, providing the capital is not eroded by bad debts. Could this be what the UK housing market is waiting for?
If Northern Rock offer sensible loans at resonable interest rates it could just be what the UK public needs.