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EU clears Santander to liquidate Bradford & Bingley

Source: Reuters - Mon 25th Jan 2010

EU regulators cleared on Monday the liquidation of failed British bank Bradford and Bingley after a request from the country's authorities, which broke up and partly nationalised the lender nearly two years ago.

Hit by a sharp rise in funding costs during the credit crunch, Bradford and Bingley sold its savings business and branch network to Spain's Banco Santander in 2008 while the British government took over its loan book.

"The UK authorities' market-oriented solution has avoided any disproportionate distortions of competition while enabling the preservation of the viable parts of the business," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

The European Commission said the liquidation period would cover more than 10 years. It said the winding-down plan foresaw the extension of UK rescue measures already approved by the European Union executive and a potential capital injection.

Bradford and Bingley had specialised in risky self-certified mortgages, which the UK's Financial Services Authority has since banned, and also lent to buy-to-let property investors.

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