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A Decade After the Crash, British Banks Are Smaller and Poorer

  • Northern Rock asked for emergency support on Sept. 14, 2007
  • Barclays, RBS have together slashed $4 trillion of assets
Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Ten years ago today, a lender called Northern Rock, bloated with billions of pounds of risky mortgages, received emergency support from the Bank of England after the short-term funding it relied on dried up. Depositors lined up outside branches to get their money back, the first run on a British bank in 150 years. It was the start of a crisis the country still hasn’t recovered from.

Northern Rock wasn’t the only name to disappear: Bradford & Bingley was nationalized too, and beleaguered Alliance & Leicester was sold on the cheap. But it’s the big retail bank survivors where the legacy of the crisis can still be seen: two are vastly smaller than they were a decade ago, one of them is still state-controlled and all are less profitable.