Saturday, 14 November 2009

Whatever happened to Bradford and Bingley?

In all the furore about banks - bonuses, extra loans, mergers and de-mergers - one thing seems to have quietly been forgotten. The demise of Bradford and Bingley. One sunny day it simply disappeared from public hands, grabbed by the government to save it from collapse. And since then, hardly a peep has been heard.

At the moment an administrator has announced he is considering just how much (if anything) it was worth at the time of its grab, so the shareholders can be recompensed (if at all). But surely this shouldn't take more than an afternoon with Excel? It seems to be taking about a year to work out, and that's not good enough. I have to confess a slight interest - I am a Bradford and Bingley shareholder. In fact, it's worse than that.

Just before I bought the shares (only a few pounds worth, I hasten to add), one of the other banks had plummeted on the stock exchange, then bounced back about 40 per cent in a few hours. When B&B plummeted also I thought 'Aha! A chance to play at day trading!' And bought a few shares. Hours later, the company was nationalized. I literally was a shareholder for about 6 hours. That's what I call timing.

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