News story

Government agrees record-breaking £13 billion sale of former Northern Rock mortgages

Chancellor authorises record-breaking £13 billion sale of mortgages acquired by the government during the financial crisis.

The Chancellor has today (13 November 2015) authorised a record-breaking £13 billion sale of mortgages acquired by the government during the financial crisis.

The mortgages, which were originally owned by Northern Rock are being sold by UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) to Cerberus, in what is the largest ever financial asset sale by a government in Europe.

UKAR is selling this portfolio of mortgages for £280 million more than their book value, demonstrating the strength of global investors’ interest in the UK.

We are now clear that taxpayers will get back more money from Northern Rock than they were forced to put in during the financial crisis, and today’s sale means that the government has exited over 85% of the assets of the former bank.

All proceeds will be used to pay down the national debt.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

Today marks another major milestone in clearing up the mess left by the financial crisis, with the sale of former Northern Rock mortgages.

The sale, which raises £13 billion for the British taxpayer, is the largest ever sale of financial assets by a British government, and we are now clear that taxpayers will get back more money from Northern Rock than they were forced to put in during the financial crisis.

The highly competitive process, unprecedented scale, and the fact that these mortgages have been sold for almost £300 million more than their book value demonstrates the confidence investors have in the UK, which has only been made possible by the success of our long term plan.

A key consideration for UKAR in selecting the successful bidder was the treatment of customers. There will be no changes to the terms and conditions of the mortgages sold. Customers do not need to take any action.

At the Summer Budget, the government set out that planned sales for 2015-16 would deliver the biggest ever sale of publicly-owned corporate and financial assets in a financial year, exceeding £30 billion in real terms for the first time. Following today’s announcement, sales to date since 1 April 2015 total over £24 billion, which is already higher in real terms than the previous record year in 1987.

The Treasury is also making a statement regarding the NRAM Euro Medium Term Notes, which are not part of the sale. This is included in the notes below.

Further information

NRAM plc has today announced the sale of certain assets and shares together with a related intercompany reorganisation in the UKAR group. NRAM plc’s announcement refers to HM Treasury’s guarantee arrangements in respect of NRAM plc’s Euro Medium Term Notes that were announced on 8 December 2009. HM Treasury can now confirm that equivalent guarantee arrangements will apply in respect of NRAM (No.1) Limited, and with effect from the substitution of NRAM (No.1) Limited for NRAM plc, as principal debtor under the terms of those Euro Medium Term Notes. The guarantee arrangements in respect of NRAM (No.1) Limited’s obligations as principal debtor under the terms of those Euro Medium Term Notes will be on the same terms as the arrangements announced on 8 December 2009 in respect of NRAM plc.