UK Bank Run or the Advantage of Reading Two Papers

I subscribe to two papers that are delivered every morning at my doorstep: The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times

For three days now, Financial Times has carried stories and pictures of a bank run in the UK, involving Northern Rock, a financial institution focused on savings and loans geared to the mortgage market. (Some have argued that if there's only a single bank run, we do not have a bank run. However, financial crisis have their own way of diffusing to neighbors.) This morning, FT carries, above the fold, a 1/4 page picture of a crowd waiting to withdraw their savings from a Northern Rock branch. Cambridge - Customers of Northern Rock waiting patiently to withdraw their savings.

No two industrial economies or countries are as intertwined as the UK and the US. Yet, if you read The Wall Street Journal this morning, you would hardly notice anything going amiss in the UK. On the front page, the news of the bank run is reflected only in a two-sentence paragraph falling on the fold, making it hardly visible, with a jump to page 3 of section C ("Money & Investing"), a section which bills an educational piece on yield curves on top of its own fold. On page C3, two short columns summarize the least salient parts of story, with no mention of a bank run.

I should end this by noting that the electronic version of FT, accessible here in California, has no images like the ones in the print edition on its front "page" today. However, one can find relevant images on Flickr -- like the one I've posted here.


Comments:

Max, interesting contrast. One thing I've noticed with these pictures and others is the age profile of the people in the queue. Now it could just be that retirees have a bit more time on their hands to queue up or that younger generations are supporting a bank-run over the web instead. But I think there's probably more to it - surprised nobody has reported on the irrationality of the behavior.

Posted by Rich Sharples on September 18, 2007 at 05:22 AM PDT #

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