Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Sunday, 28 September 2008 14:05 UK

Bingley town reacts to bank news

By Jenny Hill
North of England reporter, BBC News

Bradford and Bingley sign
Bingley is linked to Bradford and Bingley's fortunes

Troubled bank Bradford & Bingley is to be nationalised. But what does this mean for the Yorkshire town of Bingley?

The town is dominated by the former Bradford & Bingley headquarters.

Although the bank has moved to more modern premises down the road, the old grey concrete structure is still an iconic part of the landscape here.

The building was once described by Prince Charles as the ugliest in Britain, but it - like the bank itself - remains a part of Yorkshire life.

One woman proudly told us it has made the town famous.

Bradford & Bingley is a major employer in the town. It is thought 1,400 staff are based here. Today there are fears for those jobs.

One young woman who works in the pub opposite the old headquarters said she is due to start a new job with the bank in two weeks.

She has no idea whether that will now happen.


We're worried abut what it might mean for Bingley

Bingley resident


There are concerns about the impact of the nationalisation on the wider local economy.

One man told the BBC a lot of small businesses here depend on Bradford and Bingley, like the sandwich shop and delicatessen just off the town's main street.

"We're worried abut what it might mean for Bingley," he said.

While many here are dismayed by the bank's collapse and worried about the impact of its nationalisation, few are surprised.

Last year Bradford & Bingley shares were worth 3. On Friday they plummeted to a record low of 16p.

The bank has been plagued by trouble in recent months.

In July it tried to raise 400m in a rights issue. It failed and five UK banks, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and HBOS, as well as Spanish bank Santander came to its rescue.

Last week chief executive Richard Pym announced the bank would shed 370 jobs. He axed new mortgage business and reduced so-called toxic investments.

Bradford & Bingley was Britain's biggest lender to landlords, specialising in buy-to-let mortgages and self-certification loans.

Analysts say it was fatally exposed to the downturn in the UK housing market and vulnerable to customers defaulting on higher risk mortgages.

Town uncertainty

A spokesperson for the bank said savers' deposits are safe. In any case the government guarantees savings up to 35,000.

It will be some time before the impact of the news filters through to Bingley. In the meantime there is much uncertainty here.

Local man Dennis Murgatroyd, one of the bank's million shareholders, says he blames the government.

"They must have known this was going to happen," he said.



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