Northern Rock set to return to normal as crisis subsides

LONDON, Sept 19, 2007 (AFP) – Northern Rock customers finally appeared confident that they could leave their savings with the crisis-hit lender, with few, if any, expected to queue outside branches on Wednesday.

Government pledges to protect the savings of the bank’s account-holders quelled the panic triggered by news that Northern Rock asked the Bank of England, Britain’s central bank, for an emergency loan on Friday.

Northern Rock’s chairman also voiced his support for embattled bank chief executive Adam Applegarth, describing him as “the right man to get us through this.”

“He has my absolute backing and there’s not a cigarette paper between him and me,” Matt Ridley told The Times newspaper.

Though some of the bank’s customers were still unhappy and lined up for a fourth day to take out money from the British lender on Tuesday, queues were much smaller than on previous days, a fact which economists attributed to a government pledge to guarantee all existing deposits at Northern Rock.

Northern Rock said there had been a sharp fall Tuesday in the number of people withdrawing savings, compared with last week and on Monday.

About three billion pounds was reportedly withdrawn over the