Bradford and Bingley looks set to be nationalised

The move follows what appears to be a fruitless search to find a buyer for the overall business.

What is likely to follow will be a sale of the deposit side of the business which has something like £50 bn on its books to one of several interested parties, and then a roll out of the mortgage side of the business over the long term, with the mortgage book possibly being handed over to Northern Rock to manage. This would appear to be the logical move.

The fate of the shareholders is as of yet unkown, although one suspects that any rescue will mean that the shares which fell sharply at the end of last week will be worth very little, or possibly nothing now.