Northern Run: Customers Emptying Out Bank Accounts

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It only got worse for Northern Rock this morning. It was another day of long lines at the bank’s 76 branches across the UK, with customers ‘queuing’ up to withdraw their savings. Customers have reportedly withdrawn $4 billion—around 8 percent of it’s total deposit base.
“It looks very much like a run on the bank,” one London based American investment banker told us over instant messaging. “People are talking about the nineteen-seventies, whatever that means?” The banker we spoke to was in his mid-twenties and only knows the seventies from re-runs of "That '70s Show."
In a new twist on the old concept of a ‘run on the bank,’ the companies websites and call centers appear to be struggling. Calls to a call center were going unanswered according to a source in London. And it’s website has been experiencing extreme delays and delivering error messages reading: “We are currently experiencing high levels of activity on the site, which is intermittently affecting normal operation. We are working on a solution to address this. Please try again later.”
The lines, the unanswered calls and the website troubles are hardly re-assuring to customers or investors in Northern Rock, which is mockingly being called ‘Northern Wreck’ and ‘Northern Crock’ by various people with English accents.
Overnight lending rates in the UK shot up sharply as banks became concerned that the problems at Northern Rock may be replicated by other home-loan providers.
Perhaps the best sign of how bad things are is that the Brits have stopped blaming America for the fate of Northern Rock, and started blaming each other. The Liberal Democrats are blaming Labor’s Gordon Brown for not halting the "reckless" lending practices that they say has led to the crisis at Northern Rock.
The British banking officials have been urging calm, saying that if they believed the bank was insolvent they would not allow it to remain open for business. Apparently, however, many Brits aren't willing to wait until the banking officials shut the bank down and are taking matters into their own hands.
Rush on Northern Rock continues [BBC]
Northern Rock website struggles to cope with strain [E-Consultancy.com]

Lending Rates Surge as Northern Rock Concern Deepens
[Bloomberg]
Brown attacked over Northern Rock [BBC]
Customers lay siege to Northern Rock [IC Wales]

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