B&B confirmed as the next Northern Rock

The deal will see Abbey which is part of the Santander group take over the 2.7 million customer savings accounts that Bradford and Bingley currently have on its books.

The Treasury announcement this morning follows a weekend of high level meetings and negotiations, but with a lack of serious buyers the outcome was fairly inevitable, although there was a rumour of a bid from HBOS, which is itself in the midst of a takeover by Lloyds TSB.

Although the shares have been suspended, Bradford and Bingley will be operating as usual today.