Northern Rock hit the headlines again this week following news of a reported £725 million loss during the first 6 months of this year. Concerns have been raised over when the state-backed lender would be ready to sell back to the private sector, with the Financial Times suggesting that Alistair Darling will delay the sale until after the election. It also emerged that 1 in 10 Northern Rock borrowers are currently in negative equity, mainly due to the previous popularity of their Together products, which allowed customers to borrow in excess of 100% of their property value. Elsewhere, the Daily Express looked at lenders including Abbey and HSBC who offer preferential mortgage rates to customers who take out a current account with them, and critics discussed the fact that an 0.10% - 0.15% saving would not be enough to convince the majority of customers to change their bank accounts. The Daily Mail revealed that, with many borrowers sitting on unprofitably low rates, lenders are finding it difficult to offer competitive deals to their savers. The Skipton Building Society has therefore taken steps to curb this, by introducing a floor to their Standard Variable Rate of 4.5%, applicable to new customers only. In savings news, the Daily Mirror reported on football clubs such as Wolverhampton Wanders and Portsmouth improving their savings rates, while the Mail discussed the top fixed rate bonds available on the market at the moment.
What the papers say- 5th August 2009