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Foreign Exchange

Northern Rock – If you pay peanuts…

I’ll leave it to my colleagues at Euromoney to provide a proper analysis of the events that led to a run on Northern Rock. But inevitably I have some views on the subject. When I expressed these in the office, I was quickly informed, not for the first time this month, that I was “out of order”.

As a debate raged about what went on to cause the fallout I said that everyone was missing a crucial point. This is the location of Northern Rock’s treasury operations. I sent an email to the company asking them if they could confirm it was in Newcastle. It took some time coming back to me, which might have been because my questions were expressed in Oxford English. So I ran them through an online translator (http://www.geordie.org.uk/links.htm) and sent them again. “Did yee get a chance te gandie at this simple question please? Can yee please tell me weor yer treasury office is located, hoo many staff it has an what thor experience is?” I asked. Why, you may ask, should this be relevant?

A spokesman confirmed that its treasury is located in Northern Rock’s Newcastle-upon-Tyne head office and that it has experienced staff, before adding: “Whatever your translator charged, you were robbed.”

Still, I remember that a few years ago the Halifax tried to recruit staff to work in its Yorkshire-based treasury; even though it was prepared to pay close to London salaries, it simply couldn’t attract individuals of an adequate calibre to run its expanding treasury operations.

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