By now, you’ve probably seen the photos of the angry customers queued up outside of Northern Rock Bank waiting to withdraw their money. This is the first big run on a British bank in over a century. It’s lost an eighth of its deposits in three days. The pictures are headline news in the U.K. but have been stuck on the back pages of U.S. newspapers. The reason for this is obvious. The same Force 5 economic-hurricane that just touched ground in Great Britain is headed for America and gaining strength on the way.
On Monday night, desperately trying to stave off a wider panic, the British government issued an emergency pledge to Northern Rock savers that their money was safe. The government is trying to find a buyer for Northern Rock.
This is what a good old fashioned bank run looks like. And, as in 1929, the bank owners and the government are frantically trying to calm down their customers by reassuring them that their money is safe. But human nature being what it is, people are not so easily pacified when they think their savings are at risk. The bottom line is this: The people want their money, not excuses....MORE