Opinion at the moment is that consumers see supermarkets such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer as more trustworthy than banks, and these brands are keen to capitalise on the sentiment. The Cooperative group for example already offers banking facilities to its customers. This is not the first attempt by a private company to buy the nationalised bank Prior to this Virgin had tried to buy Northern Rock. The Times reports that it is also considering making another bid, along with private equity firms.
The paper says that prime minister Gordon Brown is keen to sell Northern Rock back into private ownership at a profit before an election and avoid the Conservatives taking credit for any such deal. There are also plans of splitting Northern Rock in different Units and then selling each individual unit indipendently so as to make its sale more attractive.
This would leave "toxic" loans in the hands of the public, with one half of the business responsible for paying back money lent it by taxpayers. The plan must be approved by the European Union