I acted like a lemming, UK bank chief admits

23 April 2008

The head of Bradford & Bingley (B&B) has apologised for what he terms "misjudgements" by the UK bank in the run-up to the credit crunch.

According to Rod Kent, trading in sub-prime products has cost the bank over $600 million since the collapse of the sector last summer.

The comments were made as B&B announced a further $160 million in write-downs due to the ongoing financial crisis.

Nevertheless, the bank also said that its core tier-one capital ratio (a key indicator of future growth) stood at 7.7 per cent - ahead of most domestic rivals.

The chairman said: "With the benefit of hindsight we wish, of course, that we hadn't invested in those assets and with the benefit of hindsight again, this was a mistake which we clearly regret."

He added that he and the rest of the B&B board were "deeply regretful and indeed sorry" that they had acted "like lemmings" in buying the sub-prime derivatives.

Mr Kent made the comments at the bank's annual general meeting in Bradford, England.

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