Osborne ‘to sell £16bn of assets rescued from Bradford and Bingley’

Library image of staff leaving The Bradford & Bingley HQ in Bingley, September 29, 2008. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Library image of staff leaving The Bradford & Bingley HQ in Bingley, September 29, 2008. Picture Bruce Rollinson

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CHANCELLOR George Osborne will announce plans to sell £16bn worth of bank assets which were rescued from Bradford & Bingley (B&B) during the financial crisis, according to a report on Sky News.

B&B, which specialised in buy-to-let mortgages, was nationalised during the height of the crisis in 2008.

Its deposits and branches were sold to rival lender Abbey, part of Santander, while its loans remained with the Government.

Sky News said Mr Osborne would announce the sale during his Budget statement on Wednesday but the timing of the sale by auction was unclear, with the broadcaster citing sources who said the process may not conclude for many months. The Treasury declined to comment.

Bradford & Bingley was once one of the most respected names in the financial services sector. The Bradford Second Equitable Benefit Building Society and the Bingley, Morton and Shipley Permanent Benefit Building Society were both formed in 1851 to help mill workers take their first-steps on the property ladder.

It became the Bradford & Bingley Building Society in 1964, after the Bradford Equitable and Bingley voted to merge. It grew rapidly in the 1980s due to an acquisition spree. By 1999 it had become Britain’s second biggest building society with 2.5 million members.

Bradford & Bingley demutualised, and its shares floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2000. By 2007, Bradford & Bingley had become number one in the buy-to-let sector with a market share of 20 per cent, and it was also one of the leaders in self-certification mortgages. However, the Government had to intervene when it became engulfed in the financial crisis.

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