UKAR may host revival of Bradford & Bingley

A Treasury minister will explore whether a “new Bradford & Bingley” could be born out of the ashes of the failed bank.

Sajid Javed agreed to examine the idea – put forward by Shipley MP Philip Davies – to try to create a ‘challenger bank’ at its former headquarters in Crossflatts.

More than 1,000 staff still work at the base for UK Asset Resolution (UKAR), the holding company formed when crisis-hit Bradford & Bingley was nationalised in 2008.

But they will gradually run out of work as the remaining mortgage book is wound down.

Now Mr Javed has welcomed Mr Davies’ suggestion that their skills should not be lost, but should instead be used to increase banking competition.

Speaking in a Commons debate, the minister praised the Shipley MP for “tirelessly pursuing the issue on behalf of his constituents”.

And, on the ‘challenger bank’ idea, he said: “I will give a commitment that I will think about that further. In fact, I will do more.

“I will write to the head of UKAR to ask them to consider the case that my honourable friend has made today.”

During the debate, Mr Davies had questioned the future for the staff at Crossflatts, saying: “The mortgage book is being gradually wound down, but what happens then? There is vast experience and expertise there that should not be lost to the banking sector.”

But Mr Javed gave little ground on the other key reason for staging the debate – the controversy over the decision to nationalise B&B in the first place.

Mr Davies pressed him to publish documents to reveal why it was taken into state hands and broken up, while other struggling institutions were allowed to continue trading.

Mr Javed insisted that extensive information was already in the public domain, adding: “I believe that due process has been followed at every stage.

“Transparent and independent arrangements for compensation have been put in place and there has been a proper process in the courts.”

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