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Northern Rock customers still heading for the lifeboats

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Troubled bank Northern Rock extended its branch opening times today (Monday 17th September) to prove to savers that it is ‘business as usual’.

Around £2bn has been withdrawn by customers from the bank’s savings accounts since Thursday when the true extent of its exposure to the credit crunch became known and it appealed to the Bank of England for emergency funds.

The share price dropped 32% on Friday and analysts are keeping an eye on the situation as the UK stock market traded in red figures, due in part to the difficult situation faced by banks like Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester.

Northern Rock saver John Collier, 78, of Croydon in south London, said: “I am keeping calm as asked to do so by Alistair Darling and others, but this is a nerve-wracking time for me.

“All of my life savings are with Northern Rock and if it does go over I would be extremely angry indeed, especially as we have been repeatedly assured that our money is safe.”

In addition to extending its opening hours, Northern Rock has also increased bandwidth for its online banking which, in the experience of many online users, performed poorly when the story broke.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has come out in support of the Treasury and endorsed its claim that Northern Rock is solvent and that savers could continue to deposit and withdraw money.

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