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Toon army v me

Robert Peston | 11:07 UK time, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Here's a short Newsnight film about my recent visit to the North East, where I discussed the BBC's coverage of Northern Rock and the banking crisis with local business people, former Rock employees, trade unionists and shareholders.

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  • Comment number 1.

    That funereal tie wont have helped, nor the sub-Brian Clough hairdo

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Who on earth out there believes that Northern Rock and its ludicrous business model should ever have been preserved or protected in its 2007 form? Is this civic pride, or stupidity? Perhaps the Northern Rock customers queueing outside were also to blame for their lack of loyalty to their bank?

  • Comment number 4.

    These people need to tune into Sanity FM.........Take aim at the messenger and fire!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I have now watched the clip, and the same question need answering, why not months earlier?

  • Comment number 6.

    I watched with interest your visit to Newcastle on Newsnight. At no stage did your reporting of the Northern Rock saga fill me with concern. I only became alarmed about my cash deposits was when Mr Darling advised the nation that their money was safe. Panic then set in. Such is my faith in the political classes.
    Keep up your excellent reporting.

    Paul Hellier

  • Comment number 7.

    "can understand why they are so angry at me for the loss of their small nest egg"
    Extremely patronising!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I fear that you will not convince many people.

    Whilst you broke the news on this I fear that you have not been as equally critical of every establishment.

    I have found some of your "holier than thou" home spun philosophy sometimes grates, but your inability to actually get questions answered is probably your achilles heel.

    When you return from your holidays, however, you will have the opportunity to fully ask our authorities if they should enjoy bonuses, when they have clearly reward for failure.

  • Comment number 9.

    The subject of this programme seems a pretty pointless exercise. Robert Peston remarks at one point that 'it's all about confidence, it's all about confidence'. This seems a contradiction with his earlier argument that 'it's all about facts'! If it is all about confidence, then surely it can be argued that his reporting of Northern Rock helped to undermine confidence in it?

  • Comment number 10.

    It seems to me that most people want a scape-goat for their own failings, either for not speaking up, not doing their research before investing large chunks of their life savings or for simply trusting others with those life savings. Had the BBC or Mr Peston not run with the Northern Rock or the Bradford and Bingly etc. stories the self-same people would be complaining that they should have been warned...

    Sorry Robert, you were going to be dammed if you did or if you hadn't, and of course the above doesn't even touch the issue of other media organisations being more than a little upset that you obviously have better contacts and sources than they do and 'whipping up' the hysteria during 'bash Peston' period!

  • Comment number 11.

    Well Robert........for your next sojourn you could always go up to Halifax and gauge the mood of the locals.Believe me,it won't be pretty.

    Some good ale to be had round these here parts though.We could always drown our sorrows together.

    whilst vying for that most delectable of "new"experiences-the big mac or was it subway special,kfc bargain bucket,domino pizza et al ?

  • Comment number 12.


    you appear to be almost as delusional as the incumbents of Downing Street!

    Although I agree with your basic point that your reporting was not to blame for the collapse of NR et al, your reporting style is sensationalist at best. You are all about self-aggrandissement - as highlighted by the style of the Panorama biopic and last night's report.

    Furthermore - the way that you talk to people in the report is very patronising - I'm amazed that you haven't got a black eye or bloody nose.

    Try analysing information to come to a coherent conclusion, rather than just pushing out the latest "scoop" that you have managed to source.

  • Comment number 13.

    As a native of god's own kingdom of Northeast England, I'd just like to say that your reporting has been top notch and I can't see how reporting the news confers any blame on R Peston at all.

    If Northern Rock had been properly run, rather than trying to push too many mortgages and not getting enough savings accounts, then it might well be trading currently. People queuing up outside NR were probably mostly covered by the savings guarantee scheme so should have been told that by NR itself.

    The board of NR should be hauled over the coals, but where are they now?

  • Comment number 14.

    Robert, I saw your film and wandered why you bothered to waste your time attempting to appeal to reason.

    That Northern Rock has been proved to be nothing but a Ponzi Scheme, lending upto 125% of a properties value to anyone who asked regardless of status - as proved now by their dreadful loan defaults, was never going to persuade 'Geordies' who having invested most or all of their money in just 1 stock that the fault lay with their ignorance or greed.

    Did any of them bother to stop and ask once how it was possible for their small regional bank to be suddenly undercutting the entire mortgage market and providing a staggering 10% of the total UK capacity while offering saving rates above most other banks. No they did not.

    A fool and their money are easily parted.

  • Comment number 15.

    I enjoyed the piece, and especially the music....

    Dire Straits is an apt term...


  • Comment number 16.

    I think it was irresponsible to release information about Northern Rock just to make a personal bid for stardom. Had the authorities been given time they may have been able to halt the run on the bank. It could then have been handled like RBS or HBOS.

  • Comment number 17.

    Did this film have to broadcast 90% comments showing that the people of the Northeast had not a clue what had caused Northern to go bust. I lived in the North East and the people there are not as stupid as this film makes them out to be. I only wish Northern Rock had been brought to its knees earlier it would have done far less damage. I personally took all money out a year earlier when the Finacial Times (I suspect Mr P again) exposed the huge imbalance in its short term wholesale borrowing versus long term lending, which all sane and honest bankers have known for ever is a really stupid thing to do. It also operated other distasteful policies such as when a high interest rate bond finished it put money into a very low rate account rather than rolling it over into another bond unless you specifically asked for it to be removed.
    Any member of the public who had invested once could tell it was clearly being run by a group of sharpies rather than proper bankers. The staff must have recognized this by the banks policies, so while I have some sympathy with the members of the public who may just not have noticed, the long term staff who whinge should be partly blaming themselves for not having done more to make Northern Rock honourable or just moving jobs to a more upright employer.

  • Comment number 18.

    We have developed a pathetic culture. One would have hoped that blaming the messenger would have died out with Caligula. With people as woefully ignorant as some of those who spoke during your clip, one can only say that we deserve every scrap of what has happened. We also deserve the appalling government we have.

  • Comment number 19.

    You handled it with great poise and dignity. You did your job in keeping people informed, and you shouldn't have to apologise for that. It's sad that they lost money, but you didn't 'kick anybody in the balls when they were down.'

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    My observations on last night programme are being "moderated" , censored or just take your pick.

    I should soon according the the BBC blogging code, either have it published or get an email explaining why ..... I'm still waiting........

    So he thougt the two days were "fun" how very sad and fully shows his awareness and concern for the impact on those that were affected.

  • Comment number 22.

    What a bunch of losers.

    If you buy stocks from a company you better understand and accept the risks involved into it. If you invest all or sizeable amount of your money into a one stock instead of diversifying your portfolio, you are taking a huge risk.

    What the people in North East and Newcastle should do is to accept their looses, accept that they local economy was based on a lie, stop accusing others from their own mistakes and start building their future from real basis.

    My advice to Robert would be to just forget any whiny noises about this issue. Journalists job and duty is to report, if somebody can't handle the truth coming out then its not the journalists fault.

  • Comment number 23.

    Every NR staffer is VERY lucky to still have a job - The bank should have been allowed to fail and the assets (and liabilities) of mortgages and savings be picked over by LLoyds (before LLoyds went ahead with a much more disastrous "merger".

    The NR staff then got 10% bonuses last month, with a further 40%(!!!) to come over the next year... For what, exactly?

    It's a disgrace! I know it's a shame about the "average" teller, etc, but I don't want to be paying their wages out of the public purse for non-productive "busy work" either!

    They get paid more for failing than they did for making profits!

  • Comment number 24.

    The title (Toon Army v me) says it all! Me, me, me, me, me, me!

    A cliched piece of film, backdrop of the Tyne Bridge, sound track of Local Hero and Fog on the Tyne the good Lord even organised snow!

    My only hope is that RP takes to heart his own words that the lives and futures of REAL people are behind this and any story about business and economics.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good to see the BBC using rail standard class at least for the interviews. :-)
    More importantly, as the Stanford debacle shows bad financial news travels very fast (but good news eg ATMs giving double money trevels more slowly).

  • Comment number 26.

    Dear Robert
    You have been a constant source of accurate information, truth and insight to me- in a sea of fog, denial and deception by all and sundry.
    May your tribe increase.

  • Comment number 27.

    You were right to report as you did.

    Where you and other journalists can be criticised, is for not reminding people more often of the old adage that something that looks to good to be true, probably is.

    The newspapers still carry tables of "best buys" based on interest rates offered on savings accounts, without any attempt to warn readers that higher interest rates probably mean higher expectation of loss of capital. They still allow the marketing people for banks and building societies to get away with the implication that they can offer a higher rate than their competitors without greater risk, because they are so much cleverer.

    Someone should have kept reminding people that banks and building societies rarely fail, but when they do it is catastrophic.

  • Comment number 28.

    i dont see anything wrong with robert pestons reporting on northern rock.

    fact is its business model was un-sustainable and the people with savings and other accounts with them had ought to be told about it at the time it was reported if not sooner.

  • Comment number 29.

    As sad as it is that people have lost money through the total mis-management of NR I just can't see how the reporting of this, sensationalist or not would have ultimatley made any difference!

    Greed is the fundamental point here and that is true for both management and for the people who were happy to believe that share options/investments were always going to make them money.

    Please get on the bonuses case and name and shame these people. From top to bottom, people in these shockingly run banks should simply be grateful they have a job.

    Keep up the good work

  • Comment number 30.

    Don't fret pet! Fame is fleeting.

    You could have released the bad news to the anonymity of the BBC news reader. You instead chose to be the messenger.

    Very few are prepared to stick their head above the parapet in this way for obvious reasons?

    Why did NR happen? You are not getting this across within a lay persons attention span. You need to work on this?

    It happened because a mortgage could be sold on to somebody else just like a pair of shoes. NR did not need to be canny with its risk management because it did not matter. The more 'shoes' it sold the merrier.

    What has the government done to totally prohibit the sale of property secured loans to others? Nothing I suspect!

    Surely, a property secured loan should now stay with its provider in just the same way as a borrower stays with their deposit?

    Please, no more securitisation, ever!

  • Comment number 31.

    With whom am I to be more sympathetic: a employee of Manpower working on the Mini line at weekends who is sacked without compensation at one minutes' notice, or, someone who had acquired shares in a former building society which had then to be bailed out by the taxpayer?

    I am afraid the Mini worker gets my sympathy even though I accept they must have been advised of the potential downside of their employment arrangement.

    The attitude of the people in the programme seems rather like Basil Faulty not wanting to speak about the war. The bank was bust because of its trading model probably unwittingly approved by the shareholders.

    What do the shareholders in Northern Rock want? it seems to me they want the time and the opportunity to unload their shares at a good price onto an unsuspecting other who then takes the hit.

    I am sorry that people have lost money but their delusion, their failure to control the economically illiterate directors of their bank caused this failure. The bloke who wrote about it was performing the same role as the boy who said the emperor has no clothes.

    Since then my savings have also been decimated by the wider banking crash and I don't own one share of anything. I think I have a right to be angry. I know who is in my sights but it isn't the people who provide the information even though it continues to be very frightening at times.

  • Comment number 32.

    # 20 moraymint

    Not sure why I was censored the first time around, so here's another attempt to post the same message


    The Northern Rock thing seems to be so much history these days; almost a quaint piece of nostalgia. Meantime, we're watching more recent and, it seems to me, much more significant events unfolding:

    Europe, we are told, is going into meltdown, with certain developing states edging ever closer to default

    "IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has warned of a second round of nations that will be pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and seek IMF cash" (I wish he wouldn't equivocate like that).

    Japan appears to be on the verge of depression with an annualised contraction of its economy at 12%.

    America's situation seems to inch closer to catastrophe with each passing day

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    The UK public finances are on the point of becoming a national emergency (some of us think they are already)

    ... with more dire news today

    ... and all the while Gordon Brown sails further into the outer reaches of the cosmos

    ... do you think he's alright?

    Any danger of you picking up on one or more of the above closely related themes and enlightening us with a little more of your insight and wisdom?

    Meantime, don't panic everyone.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ah, #18, Caligula. A wonderful man, without him we'd never have had Herod Agrippa thrown into jail and then put in place to pass the ball to Claudius, and without that Flavius Josephus would never have mentioned his cousin Saul as the leader of a wet-squad pushing Roman Imperial policy in handling the Jewish question. A rare insight into how Rome adapted local religions so as to ingest them...spin's nothing new.

    Oh yes, confidence. Did you know that running the term "Mammon" back to its semantic origins, as far as possible, that's what it means in in Chaldean?

  • Comment number 34.

    With reference to the closing words of comment 14:

    Gordon Gekko was more on the mark in "Wall Street":

    "A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place."

    It's the fools who have got together with OUR money that we should be worried about.

    That name. Gordon. Keeps cropping up...

    "If that guy owned a funeral parlour, nobody would die."

    I think that that was another one.

  • Comment number 35.

    Robert, the more I see you on TV the more I realise that there is a distinct difference between what you write here and what you try to relay verbally.

    I believe you are indeed the messenger and that there is someone else pulling your strings in all this.

    You have simply become just another face in this banking crisis.

    Please, please get some backbone and start asking the right questions. Do not give up until you have got to the bottom of things.

    We want a reporter not a messenger.

  • Comment number 36.


    The end of Swiss banking as we knew it???

  • Comment number 37.

    @15 ..... Dire Straits yes (actually no, it was a knopfler solo album) but "Going Home", the Theme from "Local Hero"? am not so sure the folk of the film thought of Peston that way. perhaps considering the initial reports "Private Investigations" but I think "Industrial Disease" is the best way of describing Northern Rock .... Somebody blew the whistle and the walls came down

    setting aside the first bit of music, a good piece, but why no mention of your 2003 concerns wouldnt that put the entire collapse in focus?

  • Comment number 38.

    Actually. There is another good example of why breaking news stories can sometimes do more harm than good.

    When news broke that Gordon Strachan was going to leave Southampton FC at the end of the 2003-04 season, the local press, and Saints supporters immediately wanted to know who was going to take over the Managers job. It filled a great many column-inches in the local paper and many minutes of airtime on local radio and TV.

    Southampton FC initially said that they would make an announcement at the end of the season, as G.S. had agreed to carry on until then. They wanted to manage the process of change in a calm collected way....

    But calls for news of G.S. replacement grew louder and louder and eventually reached the point where something simply had to be done. G.S. resigned. The Saints Chairman explicitly commented at the time, that the media hadn't helped the situation...

    Southampton F.C. have progressively gone down the tubes since then. So would it have been better to let the club manage the change of manager in the way that it wanted ?

    It's very hard to say, but that was a very good example of how media attention forced important decisions to be rushed.

    So far as the business world is concerned, it is not usually appropriate to break news of ongoing merger talks. As a general rule let the companies announce that when they are ready, as merger news always affects share price.

    But the Lloyds/TSB and HBOS situation happened at a time of global banking crisis. The government was encouraging the merger, performing U-turns and suspending various rules so that it could happen. Without such action, major UK banks would probably have failed, within a matter of days. So it was a fair story I reckon, under the circumstances...

    Equally, if a major UK Bank has to approach the Government for a handout, the first time that's happened in centuries, that's really big news which shouldn't be covered-up. If anybody gets that sort of story, report it. Give people a chance to get their money out if they want to.

    The people responsible for Banks failing are the irresponsible Bankers, ineffective Regulators and inept Politicians.

    Particularly the US officials who let Leehman Brothers go to the wall. That was the one really big catastrophic decision...

  • Comment number 39.

    Robert - I've done some research.

    Apparently, if you respond to locals who blame you for everything by adopting a plaintive expression and declaring

    "Why I man?"

    this will establish an empathy and win over their hearts.

    I hope that this is helpful.

  • Comment number 40.

    I live in the Nort East and agree with many of the comments like post 13 and 14 and especially 17 by tysonc.

    I believe the decision to save Northern Rock was political...with the old heartland of Scotland gone pear shaped (SNP ); they didn't want to risk another "heartland" area going wrong...(Of course that bit of calculation has been overtaken by events more times than a Minardi racing a McLaren)

    One very worrying aspect is illustrated by Northern Rock as that Plan A was to run down the Bank (as it can't ever have a future without access to funds and those are never coming back) using Government funds...and marvellous news..last week it was ahead of timetable on paying us all back!!

    But...wait a minute..... the 22 years into a 25 year 70% LtoV (back then in 1987 ) mortgages are easy to shift...even the 85% Lto V mortgages in the nineties will be easy to shift.....but didn't the Bank experience it's exponential growth in the 2000s??

    So won't a lot of mortgages be tougher to shift from here on in???....Such as those involving 100% plus (125% even!!!!) loans make up a large proportion of the total loan book.... and as these are £250K out on a flat that was £200K then and is now £150K nominal (and less than £100K actual, in the market); where one partner is fearing redundancy and the other has already had a wage freeze followed by 4 day working and 20% salary drop.

    Obviously that is a ludicrously overdrawn example merely to illustrate the point through exaggeration??

    SO.... Plan B needed!!!..... and here it is ..forget Plan A (it never happened) now lend like mad to people who couldn't otherwise get a mrtgage./ forget large deposits and so on.....

    and maybe this way we can wrap ALL the toxic mortages together (the remaining hard to monetise ones AND the new 'helping out in the recession ones') and stick a flag saying " At least we did something" on top of it---- and quietly ignore the tax payers debt which is never going to get paid back......

    " Its the Politics stupid!!"

    (Which also explains whipping up this stupid "shoot the messenger stuff"...I said at the time that a financial reporter with good connections who DOESN'T report is actually an insider trader---- it's to his credit that he reported......and my satisfaction that the 'Gilligan manoeuvre' has failed

  • Comment number 41.

    So Roberto,
    will you be heading back up north to Edinburgh when the debacle of RBS finals is pressed upon us next Thursday ?

    I fear there will be a story or two then........

    More like a bloodbath.

  • Comment number 42.

    I've no time for this criticism of RP. What worries me is that if financial journalists are "gagged", who will tell the "punters" that their savings are at risk? The providers of wholesale funds who are in the know see trouble coming and are able to withdraw funds leaving the retail depositors most exposed. Pre-Northen Rock, most retail depistors assumed that all UK banks were regulated and therefore safe but clearly this is not the case. In view of this, the more information the public can get on financial institutions to enable them to assess risk, the better. This idea that the revelations of RP destroyed the public's confidence in NR is not the point - NR was doomed as soon as the providers of wholsale funds stopped backing it. All RP did was to let the punters know what was going on so that we were not at such a disadvantage to the institutions.

  • Comment number 43.

    dictionary definition of bonus:an extra, unexpected windfall/advantage(Who's kidding who ? )

    Thought the culture was that these were built into contracts of employment-hardly unexpected or hard won then ?

  • Comment number 44.

    Nice pictures of Newcastle. Did the image of the city a lot of good you going there.

    It was brave of you to put yourself up front of the pack

    'The Rock' was part of the establishment here and many people are still in a state of disbelief that this has happened.

    After all they were given free shares which they thought would keep rising forever.

    However it was known months before they went bust that Northern Rock could be in trouble. Shares were falling and rumour was rife. It's just that people didn't want to believe it.

    They need someone to blame and you just happened to be available.

    I do hope your next visit will be more pleasurable. Wales is lovely but Northumberland is even better.

  • Comment number 45.

    Stanford under suspicion of fraud.

    Does anyone else see a similarity with missing Lord Lucan?

    Are they related?

    We should be told

  • Comment number 46.

    Personally I think that whoever dreamt up the (panic enducing) term

    "Lender of Last resort"

    should take the blame - not Robert.

  • Comment number 47.


    As a North Eastener I have no problems whatsoever with your reporting of the Northern Rock Debacle, though the state of denial from a lot of people with respect to the viability of the business, doesn't surprise me either.

    What did annoy me was when catching a snippet of your interview with Radio Newcastle, presumably on the same visit. Whilst trying to stay upbeat and not send too much of a message of doom and gloom, you mentioned that some of the newly unemployed could be possibly cushioned by jobs in the public sector. Although laudible in sentiment, more jobs in the public sector is precisely what will the local economy does not need.

    OK - reliance on government for work, is better than government handouts, not to work. It however breeds a different type of dependency culture. Already approx 60% of those in work in North East are employed within the public sector. The region needs government help to encourage private enterprise and not more "make work programs".

    RE Northern Rock: Whilst appearing to undertake a risky road to finance their rapid growth, they didn't see fit to hire the best to manage the business even after demutualisation and floatation. I was amazed to find a "Ridley" at the helm at the time of their demise. The former building society had been run almost as their own personal familly fiefdom for a number of years prior. Yet another case of the old boy network. I doesn't matter whether or not your qualified to do the job - you have the right name / former school / club tie.

    Until the banking sector is run by those who are qualified and that the senior practioners are licensed and abide an enforceable code of conduct - things will never get better.

  • Comment number 48.

    Where NR made its name as a mortgage lender was its ability to lend 125% of the value of the property you wanted to buy.

    For example you wanted to buy a house valued at £200,000.

    You went to NR and asked to borrow £200,000.

    NR said: How much deposit are you willing to put down on the said property?

    You said: Don't be daft! I haven't got a deposit.

    NR said: No worries, we'll lend you 125% of the value of the property which means we will lend you £250,000 so long as you promise to use part of the extra £50,000 as a deposit, at least 10%.

    You said: Just so I understand what you are saying. I borrow £250,000, £20,000 of which I have to use to put down as a deposit. What about the extra £30,000?

    NR said: Well you did say it was your first house, didn't you? You can use the extra £30,000 for all those nice home furnishings from IKEA.

    You said (actually you didn't because you couldn't believe your luck!): What can possibly go wrong?

    NR said: Go wrong? Go wrong? Look man, we live on an island and there's more people than houses to go round. The only way for house prices to go is up, up, up (unlike our football team - chortle chortle).


    RBS, Birminham and Midshires, B & B and HBOS were even better as far as mortgage lending went because with them, you could 'lie to buy'. So long as you put down a 5% - 10% deposit, you could dream up your fantasy salary to make sure it was sufficient for the amount you wanted to borrow.

    For example, you were a cook in the canteen at A school earning £3,000 per year. The amount you wanted to borrow was £100,000. You put down a deposit of £10,000 as 10% deposit. Needing to borrow the remaining £90,000, you realised that your salary was insufficient. However what if you self-certificated your salAry so that with no questions asked you changed your job title from Canteen Cook to Restaurant Chef and your salary from £3,000 to £30,000. Job done!


    It would be laughable if such practices were not true but the reality is, they were standard. Where was the Regulator?

    Now Robert, when you have rested and return home to find a pile of government leaks ready to be disseminated to us in your 'In Tray', please find time to investigate why the success that is the FSA is awarding itself £33 million bonuses!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Robert -- Don't worry what people say to you.

    Truth alone triumphs.

    We have lived in a very secretive and shady decade where the government have been found out.

    Please continue your job of reporting the facts -- there is still much to unravel.

  • Comment number 50.

    guess moderator must be havin a snoooooozzzzzzzzzzze ?

  • Comment number 51.

    I can understand the shareholders being cross, but with so many places going to the wall they are not alone I fear, and RB can't be blamed for all ills. I don't think RB keeping his mouth shut would have saved their investments.

    On the other hand if I had over the 35k limit (as it was at the time) in savings in NR I would be thanking RB for giving me the info (which the public needed) to get my cash into a safe place! No one knew NR would be saved by Mr Brown at the time!

    I am a mad about the bonuses the banks STILL seem to handing out, in my line of work I would have been sacked for bad performance. I am also mad about the interest rates on my hard earned savings being so poor! Nothing to do with RB.

    If only someone had spoke up sooner about the amount of toxic loans out there maybe we wouldn't be in this mess!

  • Comment number 52.

    Perhaps this will kick start a new trend in reporting where London based reporters are sent to the regions but at least the opinions from people are genuine, as opposed to political classes spin merchants. The north east has reinvented itself and local people are justifiably proud of their heritage. But this reinvention has also been replicated across the country.

    Equivalent pieces on Lloyds, HBOS and RBS would also help show how different lending policies have contributed to the economic crisis and demolish the myths/ignorance that prevail reagrding their nationality. A video piece on HBOS corporate lending is required as a counter juxtaposition to the overheated housing market.

    Ultimately this crisis has to be seen as a salutory lesson to us all. Banks cannot lend irresponsibly, nor buy overseas loans off other banks business recklessly on the mere say so of some credit agency's AAA rating. Bank customers have to learn to live within their means - just because your credit card limit has been extended by a grand, does not mean you are compelled to hit the high street and splash out!

    The other area of debt is student loans - the figures are bandied about often enough, but my generation went to Uni on a grant. The concept of graduating and looking for a job in the current climate, with a GBP 20,000 loan (or more) weighing like a millstone around my neck is obscene. Some objective reporting is needed here, the young people I know who intend to go to Uni also have parents that are well off.

  • Comment number 53.

    Robert Peston didn't cause the run on Northern Rock. But he has cashed in on it.

    This would float in the US where the media operates a very open personality culture. In the UK it feels distasteful, more so as it is the BBC and particularly so considering the subject matter.

    Robert's comment: "I believe in the message not the messenger," sounds horribly insincere.

    Robert Peston has become the story, and it has been entirely of his own making.

  • Comment number 54.








  • Comment number 55.

    Yet more wild swings in banking shares today...........bigmoneybags dipping in and out perhaps ?????????

  • Comment number 56.

    Nearly one and a half hours DELAY on




  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Robert, you came across OK, ignore 'ooo how his approach offends me' nutters on here. It seems to me that you'd gladly sit down over a pint with anyone and chat about the issues. You can't say that about many people in public life. Hey, was a that a flat cap I saw on your head? Never know you might just whip-up a new trend here. Gordon Brown'll be wearing one soon, thinking as he will be, that hey, it'll just send out a message to the grass roots that I'm one of you. Anyway, media star, trend setter, good God: what next? the movies?

  • Comment number 59.

    Well.....there's definitely no danger of the FTSE top100 flatlining at moment !

    More twists 'n turns than any racetrack and swings than our local park.

    What frantic stuff then.......talka bout a rollercoaster ride-this makes a big dipper look like childs play.

  • Comment number 60.

    I’m continually amazed by some of your posters Robert....

    We will always have the ones that know your job better than you...... and the ones that don’t seem to understand you are a journalist and not some sort of arbitration service....

    But it is the ones that are still talking about the ‘Run on the Bank’ that amaze me....... as far as I can see the publicity and resulting panic was partly the reason the Gov stepped in so quickly, resulting in no one losing Money

    Net direct result of your reporting = Some old people queuing for a few hours!!!!!!

    Get over it people

    Next time Robert - you don't report it and we won't bail it out...........

    Then they'll know who to blame!

    PS don’t forget to broadcast the report telling everyone that you knew about it before though, just to rub it in! That will get them riled......

  • Comment number 61.

    Sound Money? or the Sound of Silence (The blog software will trap the onomatopoeic word for a puff of smoke - apparently it's sometimes used as a derogatory term)


  • Comment number 62.

    Would they still have those shares if the bank managed to survive a bit longer, or would they have sold them like a flash?

  • Comment number 63.

    What a shambles of a 12 minute prog. Came across as man with news meets simple folk who blame him for their troubles. Produced and directed by people who found camera and an old greatest hits album.

    If you wanted to take this route you should have got in Terry Gilliam and the Python crew.

  • Comment number 64.

    Sorry Mr Peston, you have not even begun to convince me. You are all about sensationalist reporting, the main purpose of which appears to be your own aggrandisement.

  • Comment number 65.

    #22 - Jukka.

    I could not agree with your comments more - "What a bunch of losers", "What the people in North East and Newcastle should do is to accept their looses, accept that they local economy was based on a lie, stop accusing others from their own mistakes and start building their future from real basis".

    Yeah, quite so. I mean if another area of the UK were similarly affected, say like the City of London - they should accept their losses, accept that their(sp) losses were based on a lie, stop accusing others from their own mistakes etc etc - eh,oh?

    Not happened has it?

    From UK resident - not a Geordie.

  • Comment number 66.

    see BBC article about SAAB in emergency meeting - see last paragraph and Maud's position and statement - well done her/him(?).

    Are we able to buy her in to UK govt?

    Wouldn't it have been fantastic (don't blog telling me why it would have been terrible) to see all the bankers (CEO's etc, not poor tellers etc) faces if Ally D had stood up and said

    'They appointed me to look after the finances for the NHS not to support bust banks and pay obscene bonuses'.

    Love it.

    PS Whilst it may sound like I am revelling in all this I'm not - times are tough - and I'm in with the sufferers at the moment despite having been careful with my cash all my life - but part of the British psyche is to manage to smile no matter what - can we export that to China?

  • Comment number 67.

    I'm afraid to say I think your reporting did cause the run on Northern Rock, you affected the confidence of the people watching the report, and people not being able to access the website, you try and get onto a website when the online sales are on or the inland revenue on the 31st Jan and you have the same problem you can not get access to the website. If you had allowed NR a bit of time to examine all the options, maybe people would not have lost their savings, their jobs and their confidence in the banking industry. Money is a very emotional thing and any financial journalist should realise this - if you have 'enjoyed' your visit to Newcastle, somehow I don't think you have learnt from your reporting on NR.

  • Comment number 68.









  • Comment number 69.

    People need to start getting real and facing the facts, and stop blaming the messenger, thank god for Bob!
    I cannot believe that we are just sitting back and letting this goverment get away with this financial mess. We should be out there voicing our concerns, aiming our anger at the bankers etc. Have we all become spineless, lets get out there and show them how we feel and what we want now!!! who's coming!!

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Well done to Robert Peston for the discovery and revealing it and well done on the BBC for doing what they do and putting this sort of thing in front of the public.

    Keep up the good work and get there earlier next time - somebody must have been in a position to see this mess we're in - I did.

    Well done all

  • Comment number 72.

    Tyke, And the American banks are still

    like a morbid feline...

    Schadenfreude? Why ever not?

  • Comment number 73.

    I see the old Bank of America shares have been taking a right caning........if anyone would care to look at their 12monthly performance chart-it makes awful reading indeed !

    Sentiment does not look good.

  • Comment number 74.

    Robert, in no way are you responsible for the run on Northern Rock, in the program nobody criticised the directors and their business model which without doubt was the sole cause of the demise of NR.
    If you had not reported it very soon someone else would as soon as NR went for funding support.
    If you work in journalism no way is life the same as it is to the man in the street and the two views will rarely meet and agree.
    At least you bring us the facts, straight and honest. There is enough blurring of the facts in this world.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 75.

    Does Betfair quote a price for you as next ''permanent Newcastle manager'' ??

  • Comment number 76.

    What could be more ridiculous? The FSA (our half-baked version of a regulator) are awarding themselves bonuses!, while the regulees drop like flies....

    You've gotta laugh

  • Comment number 77.







  • Comment number 78.

    Northern Rock would appear to be a small building society that converted to a bank and tried to grab the biggest market share of the mortgage market.

    The shareholders and savers in the bank should compare Northern Rock with the Nationwide. The Nationwide is still there as a functioning business, Northern Rock has no future.

    The people who took the conversion money are primarily responsible.
    All the converted building societies have failed or had to sell themselves. This is where the problem started.

    Could Northern Rock have stayed a building society? It could have tried but the greed that the carpetbaggers unleashed would have probably meant that the savers at the time would have taken the conversion shilling.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    Post 15 & 37 surely Mark Knoflers most famous song "Money for Nothing" from the Dire Straits album Brothers in Arms would be the most appropriate music for Northern Rock and 125% mortgages.

  • Comment number 81.

    If Robert had been arround 2000years ago and done likewise ,he would have got nailed to a cross ,he should just thank God that he is living in a christian country .

    Thanks to Robrt the ponzi's are dropping like ninepins.

    The fact that pension fund managers and delusional individuals made their bonus from buying into ponzi schemees is not Roberts falt.

    The fallen human suscepitibility to lieing conmen goes back to the fall of man and democracy [eve]is its chief victim .

    lol things can only get worse .

  • Comment number 82.

    Irrespective of how dangerous NR's business model was and should it have been nationalised, I feel there should be a general responsibility by the media not to 'glamorise' failures / problems.

    It was obvious from all the news reports at the time that people panicked from the outset of the story being reported by PR and not just when the government stepped in.

    The government had to be seen to do something publicly instead of what of what I understand the BoE was trying to do behind the scenes - save NR as best it could without sending everyone into a panic.

    The BoE may not have been able to save NR even this way but at least the run on the bank could have been curtailed.

    From PR's sources I would've thought that the possibility of the BoE stepping in would have been known(?)

    The question I would like to put to PR is should the media allow a 'scoop' to come before efforts to stop a possible meltdown of a bank and the resulting impact of the local and national economy?

  • Comment number 83.

    I thought Robert Peston was right to say that it is 'all about confidence'. However what he chooses to close his eyes to, along with the rest of the media, is that it is they who are the major cause of our lack of confidence. The economic situation is one thing to contend with, but the media - which relishes in its self-appointed role as a 24 hour doom machine - amplifies our fears and worries by a good 50%.

  • Comment number 84.

    Entirely unconvincing Mr. Peston.

    Having spoken to so many people who believe your negative broadcasts have contributed heavily to the lack of confidence in the country a period of silence would be most welcome.

    It is not just the North East of England who are sore with the BBC's business and economics team over their sometimes hysterical reaction to events..... which quite frankly has frightened the pants off consumers.

  • Comment number 85.


    The Bourgoisie will blame anyone and anything for this crisis - including you - rather than admit that the system they so adamantly believe in (against all logic) cannot be wrong.

    Well done for going and facing the people who are mis-guided and mis-led by the Bourgoisie leaders.

    Sadly, the population simply cannot take on board the stark and honest truth and it's easier to blame you than them.

    The young lady who asked you if you could have spoken to 'the Government' before you broke the story.

    With the current anti-terror (or anti-citizen) laws you might find yourself bound and gagged and off to Guantamano or Eqypt where torture is 'legal'

    However, what I think is more accurate is that if you didn't break the story then NR might have survived a bit longer, the Government wouldn't have taken it seriously and we would have had 3 banks fail 3 months later (HBOS, NR and RBS). Now that would have created much bigger waves than the NR effect.

    If anything RP - YOU ACTUALLY SAVED THE BANKING INDUSTRY (if it survives). You created the scene for a steadier dismantling rather than what would have been an abrupt crash.

    Once again though, it shoes that the public cannot comprehend that the Government works against their interests, and not for them. It's easier to blame you because you have 'a face' - where as the real culrpits of this mess are all anonymous Bourgoisie.

    Hopefully, once their all starving and dying the public might wake up to this fact. I can understand their anger, but it's directed in the wrong place.


    If the public don't understand - then they must be left to rot. The only way to really change things is to take a leap into the unknown.

  • Comment number 86.

    Like #6 our call to action on Northern Rock was on the Friday night when Mr Darling again and again refused to say that the money was safe - only that the FSA, who were independant, said it was safe.

    As an investor in Equitable Life, I had and still have, little faith in the FSA who tend to rely heavily on 'processes' rather than facts when carrying out their assessments.

    We drew out our money when it was clear that (on the crisis Friday at least) the gov. attempting to distance themselves from the shambles. As it turned out, they were forced into supporting Northern Rock...

  • Comment number 87.

    67 goforcommonsense

    There was a run on the bank because Alistair Darling took four days to reassure everyone their money was safe.

    Government dithering was the cause.

    Just as it took them too long before announcing the recapitalisation of the banks.

    By the time they did billions had already been withdrawn.

    In the electronic age there is no space for diitherers.

  • Comment number 88.

    I agree with some of the comments that when talking to the 'public' you can seem a little patronizing.

    Ignoring the fact that they were invariably misguided in their criticism (not to mention their gung ho attitude to building up that small personal nest egg - i mean a small regional bank that quadrupled its share price in a decade - surely some diversification was necessary), but you seemed to lose patience with their stories and flick your head back, wave your arms and cut in once boredom limit was reached.

    Actually on reading that back you sound very like me.

  • Comment number 89.

    78 NewsStudent

    Nice piece and very true.

    It was a very successful building society and could and should have stayed that way.

  • Comment number 90.

    #48 andfinally

    There never were more people that houses!

    There might have been more BUYERS than houses though

    Don't think those in the housing market weren't as stupid as those in Banking!

  • Comment number 91.

    I'd rather see a Panorama investigating the leaks in government which led to your scoops.

    Leaks which obviously intended to depress share prices before the government had to take stakes in the banks.

    The fact that the FSA has refused to investigate this government leaking is astonishing, when this is clearly market abuse and well within its remit.

  • Comment number 92.

    At the end of the day, as they say, we all know the price of shares can go down as well as up....... whilst we do not expect the price/value of savings deposited in a bank to be able to go down as well as up.

    This is the crucial dividing line between order and chaos for our western capitalist model, and one that many of the good people of Newcastle have unfortunately got confused about.

    But, don't become too complacent Robert - it's now a good four months since you got this scoop, which in journalistic terms is now old hat I'm afraid, and I think you need to get back to the story being the story, not the messenger being the story.

    Back to the front line please and start digging up some more important truths.

    One suggestion as a starter....

    UBS has just paid the US Govt $780m to settle allegations that it defrauded the US tax authorities.

    Maybe I can outline my feeling about this by being very careful to stay the correct side of the law here, and explain what I think happened?

    For the sake of the moderators on this blog and just so no-one gets the wrong idea, I'd like to say the following:
    - there is no suggestion by me mentioning this that I believe UBS did anything wrong
    - UBS have not admitted any guilt here, and as far as I know UBS has always been completely fair and transparent in its dealings with everyone, including the US Govt, and in fact with all governments.
    - UBS, as far as I know, is one of the most honest and ethical banks in Europe
    - UBS, as far as I know, employs some of the most upright, ethical and outstanding bankers who walk the face of this earth
    - UBS is one of the pillars of the Swiss financial system, and has been, as far as I know, a great ambassador for Swiss probity.

    So, I'm guessing maybe it was some sort of oversight on the part of a junior employee that led to this situation...... do you think?

  • Comment number 93.

    of course you feel sorry for the couple who lost their nestegg

    we all feel sorry for all the people and ourselves too

    am I right in thinking they had shares

    deposits are covered and safe upto 50k

    but shares CAN GO DOWN AS WELL AS UP

    I found this out to my disadvantage years ago and learned my lesson

    what did these people expect

    did they read the small print

    even I could see NR was dodgy 18 months ago and I fall asleep over the financial pages most of which, as you will have noted fellow bloggers, goes over my head, but it was just obviously too good to be true

    no good blaming you

    I want to hear information not have it gagged

  • Comment number 94.

    When are the Peston apologists going to realise that most of those who criticise his reporting are not blaming RP for the banking crisis or even NR's failure.

    We would simply prefer a more robust analysis of the facts, presented in a sober and considered manner. Unfortunately, what we get is a regurgitation of partial data - with an incomplete and slanted analysis.

    Please don't patronise your readers, viewers and listeners by assuming that lowest common denominator reporting is sufficient.

    For more intelligent reporting - and much more interesting blog commentary - please turn to Paul Mason's Newsnight blog.

  • Comment number 95.

    I live is West Sussex and cannot find anyone that thinks that Robert's reporting style is appropriate. When he is supposed to be reporting facts he appears to add negative comments and interpretation at every opportunity and to enjoy doing it. He does not differentiate clearly if at all between fact, other people's opinion and his opinion. He seems to want the bad news to run and run. He carries on reporting on the opinions of people from banks and other discredited sources. He does not seek out people looking analyisng the issues to produce projections of the future based on analysis

  • Comment number 96.

    I was born and bred in the NE and realise that voting Labour is brainwashed into the local society.

    I hope the NE teaches Labour a lesson at the next election.

    Labour has kept the NE down as a way of preserving its grass roots working class vote in the area, and the treatment of NR illustrates how it takes this vote for granted.

    HBOS' and RBS' mistakes have been far more serious than NR's, not only lending irresponsibly but also investing in US mortgage backed securities, which NR did not do.

    RBS has liabilities of £2 trillion and net assets of less than £100b, £30b of which it is about to write off. A balance sheet which is far more dubious than NR's.

    It thankfully has been saved, but why not NR? Why not a quiet bail out or a takeover by Lloyds?

    Labour has not given the same support to NR that it has to the scottish banks, because it has taken the Labour vote in the NE for granted, which it cannot do in Scotland.

    Your reporting was sensationalist and therefore irresponsible, and my impression at the time was that the sensationalist spin played a big part in the retail run, which did for NR, not the £3b facility it requested from the BoE, which at the time it did not immediately even have to draw upon, but which it wanted as a backstop.

    As a depositor at the time with NR, directly as a result of your reporting I did consider withdrawing my money but as it was below £35k and as such I would have lost only a small part of it, I ignored the hysteria.

    However many people would not have wanted to risk losing even a small part of their savings.

    The sensationalism also has helped your career immensely as prior to this event I had not a clue who you were.

    However the real culprits in destroying NR, which led the downwards spiral in confidence in the UK, and has made our current situation so much worse, are the person/body who leaked the information to you, which I believe was the BoE, and the subsequent lack of a definitive and rapid response in guaranteeing deposits, and if necessary other liabilities, by the government.

    Millions have now lost so much money e.g. the 3m Lloyds shareholders who have bailed the government out over HBOS, and the millions of pension savers who have lost hundreds of billions in the share values of RBS, Lloyds and Barclays alone, largely through the government's inept handling of the crisis and its destruction of confidence (which started in my view with the run, the first in 160 years, on a British bank, and at that, a bank which was not exposed to US subprime).

    These millions will no doubt have their losses fresh in mind at the time of the impending election, if the government fails to revive investor confidence.

  • Comment number 97.

    They say a criminal always returns to the scene of the crime.

  • Comment number 98.


    The NRK have only got approx 10bln debt against the mortgage book, does this make them one of the best capitalised of the UK banks ;-)

  • Comment number 99.

    I got the impression most of the folk were angry (quite rightly IMO) that NRK had been dealt with differently (as opposed to RBS / Lloyds HBOS et al).

    NRK's balance sheet is still MUCH stronger that the aforementioned.

  • Comment number 100.

    can you confirm if the tsunami that rodney marsh referred to was an underwater nuclear explosion test and if the financial tsunami will be anything similar.

    why do the toon army not wear shirts when it is cold? have you seen any Tunami Japanese vids


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