Timeline: Northern Rock's rise and fall

Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:14am EST

People pass a branch of Northern Rock bank in Newcastle, northern England November 17, 2011.  REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

People pass a branch of Northern Rock bank in Newcastle, northern England November 17, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

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(Reuters) - Following is a look back at Northern Rock's checkered history after Britain agreed on Thursday to sell the failed mortgage lender:

July 1965 - Northern Rock Building Society is formed as a result of the merger of Northern Counties Permanent Building Society (established in 1850) and Rock Building Society (established in 1865)

October 1, 1997 - Northern Rock converts from a building society to a public limited company.

August 9, 2007 - Pinpointed by regulators and the bank itself as the date "the world changed" for Northern Rock. The European Central Bank pumps a record 94.8 billion euros into Europe's money markets after BNP Paribas freezes withdrawals on funds hit by U.S. subprime market crisis.

September 14 - Northern Rock says the Bank of England has stepped in to provide support, causing the bank's shares to crash over 30 percent.

September 15 - Customers besiege the bank to withdraw money, ignoring official reassurance. Two days later the government steps in to guarantee deposits in a bid to stop the run.

September 25 - Under pressure from the Treasury and regulators, Northern Rock cancels its interim dividend and confirms it is in "preliminary discussions with selected parties."

October 9 - Northern Rock gets another lifeline as the government offers to guarantee new retail deposits.

October 10 - Shares jump over 40 percent after SRM Global, a hedge fund run by former UBS trader Jon Wood, takes a stake of over 4 percent.

January 11, 2008 - Northern Rock sells a 2.2 billion pound portfolio of mortgages to U.S. bank J.P. Morgan to help repay loans from the Bank of England.

January 21 - Government announces plan to convert about 25 billion pounds loaned to Northern Rock into bonds to smooth the way for a private sector takeover.

February 17 - Government rejects offers, deciding to take Northern Rock into temporary public ownership.

February 21 - Britain passes legislation allowing the government to nationalize Northern Rock.

February 22, 2009 - Northern Rock announces plans to increase its mortgage lending by up to 14 billion pounds over the next two years.

April 26 - Media reports Britain will sell off Northern Rock by the end of 2009. The Sunday Times says the bank is to be split in two, with its most toxic loans held in a "bad bank" to remain in government hands and the remainder sold off.

July 1 - Northern Rock says its capital has fallen below the regulatory minimum but it has been cleared to continue business.

October 28 - EU approves a plan to break up Northern Rock, allowing Britain to eventually sell parts of the lender. UBS banker Robin Budenberg is named as chief executive.

January 11, 2010 - Virgin Money, the banking arm of Richard Branson's Virgin empire, approaches U.S. private equity firm Blackstone to seek backing for a bid for Northern Rock.

March 24 - The "bad bank" portion of Northern Rock is to merge with state-owned rival Bradford & Bingley, a move designed to cut costs and generate greater returns.

August 3 - Northern Rock Plc, which represents the "good" bank

comprising new mortgages and savings, posts a maiden loss of 140 million pounds ($216.5 million) for the six months ending June, due partly to costs for its spin-off from the original company.

June 15, 2011 - Finance Minister George Osborne launches a sale timetable for Northern Rock.

July 28 - Virgin Money submits its expression of interest in Northern Rock. It puts in a second-round bid in October.

November 17 - Britain sells Northern Rock to Virgin Money, for between 747 million and 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion - $1.6 billion) in cash. (Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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