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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Northern Rock customers air their views
With customers queuing for a third day at Northern Rock to get their money out, after the bank admitted it was in financial difficulties, BBC News reporters spoke to people waiting in line at branch offices across the country.

TEMPLE STREET BRANCH, BIRMINGHAM

Mick and Beryl Watton
Mick and Beryl Watton want to save with a bigger bank

Customers have been waiting patiently in a long queue, determined to safeguard their money.

Many were expecting to spend more than four hours outside the bank on Monday, but no one looked ready to give up and go home.

Most distrusted advice that their money was safe, preferring instead to take matters into their own hands.

And the several hundred people were determined to wait as long as it took.

Retired couple Mick and Beryl Watton, of Bromsgrove, said they planned to move their savings to a bigger bank.

"They (Northern Rock) are a small bank and the Government are liable to let one or two banks go to the wall," Mr Watton said.

The 70-year-old and his 65-year-old wife said they were expecting to wait up to four hours to see an adviser.

Harbinder Kamboz
Harbinder Kamboz admitted he was panicking

Kathy Price, ahead of the Wattons in the queue, said she thought the media was responsible for the huge reaction from Northern Rock customers.

"I think the press has generated the situation, but we're in uncertain times and we don't know what's going to happen," said the retired 66-year-old from Wythall, Worcestershire.

"I will put my savings in one of the big banks."

Harbinder Kamboz, 49, had already queued for more than two hours but was still far from the front.

But unlike many Mr Kamboz, a clothing warehouse owner from Hall Green, Birmingham, was not planning to close his account of seven years.

"I am leaving a token amount in, it's probably the panic why I'm here," he said.

Robert Stait, 64, said he thought Northern Rock was in serious trouble.

Robert Stait
Robert Stait has been worried, not reassured

"Why would you leave your money here?" he said

"It's dead in the water so however many assurances you get the more worried you get."

Mr Stait, from Sutton Coldfield and about to retire from the insurance industry, added: "I will not leave more than 35,000 in any one account.

"What needs amending is the legislation, there needs to be 100% protection for a much greater amount."

MADDOX STREET BRANCH, CENTRAL LONDON

Ann from Kent
Ann from Kent was one anxious customer in London

People at the front of the queue to the Northern Rock's Maddox Street branch had been there since 7.30 in the morning.

Nearly 200 people, many of them pensioners, waited patiently yet determinedly to access their accounts, which contained life savings and pension funds.

"We decided that we would in fact delay [withdrawing our money] but when so many people started taking payouts we got cold feet so we decided perhaps we better come and get it," said Ann from Kent.

"If the Government would step in and say they will actually guarantee every penny of everybody's savings, then we would leave it there.

"A lot of people here are older savers and unfortunately Northern Rock gave us a very good deal on a Silver Savings account, we thought it was a good deal," she said.

It was a four-hour wait from the back of the queue.

Panic? I'm thinking of Barings Bank, I'm thinking of the Titanic, I'm thinking of all these other things which have gone under
Alison Melvin

Many customers were visibly tired from the wait but were prepared to stay for as long as it took.

Some had brought foldable chairs and flasks of tea to stay warm in the fresh autumnal morning.

"I'm just going to get my money out and put it somewhere else," said 64 year old Alison Melvin.

"Panic? I'm thinking of Barings Bank, I'm thinking of the Titanic, I'm thinking of all these other things which have gone under.

"I'm sure money's safe but because I'm getting older I think I need to put it under the bed instead," she added.

Meanwhile, Northern Rock staff distributed letters up and down the line assuring customers their money was safe.

NORTHUMBERLAND STREET BRANCH, NEWCASTLE

Queue at Northumberland Street in Newcastle
The queue at Northumberland Street in Newcastle

Reassurances over the safety of their money failed to stop hundreds of Northern Rock customers forming queues at the bank's two Newcastle City Centre branches on Monday.

Despite being given estimated waiting times of up to three hours spirits remained high on a chilly day.

Many joked about the sums of money they were intending to withdraw, while others expressed amusement at the endless requests for their views from the TV and newspaper journalists in attendance.

A number of customers admitted some guilt at adding to the woes of a Newcastle-based company, but for most the overriding concern was to protect their savings.

Housewife Bushra Suliman, 32, of Newcastle, joined the back of a queue of up to 200 people at the bank's Northumberland Street branch.

She said: "I know closing my account could be considered foolish but I have young children and I need to look after their future.

I just don't believe the reassurances from the bank and the government. It is a very frightening situation
Jean Watt

"I was not that concerned on Friday but seeing all the television reports over the weekend has panicked me a little."

A smaller queue of about 100 people formed outside the bank's Pilgrim Street branch.

Jean Watt, 60, was making a renewed attempt to close her account after large queues prevented her from getting into her local branch in Glasgow on Saturday.

"I'm down here with my husband, who is on business and I need to get this done as the collective panic that is going around has got to me," she said.

"I just don't believe the reassurances from the bank and the government. It is a very frightening situation."






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