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Learning English - Words in the News
14 September, 2007 - Published 10:31 GMT
Northern Rock crisis
Northern Rock branch

The Bank of England has stepped in to provide emergency financial support to one of Britain's biggest mortgage lenders. Northern Rock has had difficulties financing its lending because of the recent crisis in the financial markets. This report from Robert Peston:

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Northern Rock has been one of the fastest growing British banks. But it's now set to become famous for reasons it would rather keep quiet. It's become the first bank in years to seek emergency funding from the Bank of England in its role as 'lender of last resort'.

Northern Rock's problem is not that it's making colossal losses or is bust, but it feared that it could run out of cash. Why? Because in the market turmoil of the past few weeks investors and other banks have been increasingly reluctant to lend to it. It's been tainted by the problems experienced by those who lent to US home buyers, especially those with poor credit histories.

Robert Peston, BBC

Listen to the words

almost certain

for reasons it would rather keep quiet
because of something the bank doesn't want people to know about

to seek emergency funding
to ask for money to improve its situation, which has unexpectedly got worse, and avoid harmful results

lender of last resort
the financial institution that agrees to give you money (which you will have to pay back in the future) when nobody else will

making colossal losses
losing very big amounts of money

insolvent, bankrupt, unable to pay what it owes

run out of
if you run out of something, all of it has been used so there is none of it left

market turmoil
a state of uncertainty in the financial markets

increasingly reluctant
less and less willing

with poor credit histories
who have not always been able to pay back money they have borrowed

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