Credit crisis diary

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The Independent Online

A night is a long time in mortgage lending

HSBC won plaudits in yesterday's newspapers for its stance on mortgage rates, not least because its spin-doctors spent Thursday evening briefing the world that while rivals were withdrawing their tracker deals left, right and centre, the world's biggest bank was not. Cue an HSBC announcement on Friday morning: the bank has decided to pull all its tracker deals bar one.



I can see clearly now

Sir Fred Goodwin might not feel the same, but Andrew Moss, right, chief executive of Aviva, is grateful to Stephen Hester, chief executive designate of Royal Bank of Scotland, whose last big decision as boss of British Land was to postpone the 235-metre Cheesegrater building. Mr Moss's office on the 21st floor of Aviva's tower in the City looks straight down on the site at 122 Leadenhall Street, where not very much at all is going on, and the 47-floor Cheesegrater would have blotted out the Aviva chief's view of the sun setting over the Houses of Parliament. "I'm very happy," Mr Moss says.



Turning up the heat on policyholders

A round of applause for some clever lateral thinking from the on-message marketing folks at NFU Mutual. The insurer reckons that what with this recession and all, people are probably switching to open fires rather than turning on the expensive central heating. Its message to potential customers – and this probably won't surprise you – is that fires are, ahem, a fire risk. Make sure your insurance is up to date.



In the money

At least someone is benefitingimmediately from the Bank ofEngland's bold interest rate move. Spreadex, the financial bettingcompany, reports that it has paid out £100,000 to a customer who was convinced the Monetary PolicyCommittee would go for 1.5 percentage points off. The punter in question remains, of course, anonymous, but maybe we should keep an eye out for any lavish spending by MPC member David Blanchflower, the committee's arch dove.



From heroes to villains

There was a time when dividing the good guys from the bad was easy in financial services. Moneygrabbing profit-driven banks – villains; mutually owned building societies – heroes. A shame, then, that by Friday lunchtime, not a single society,with the honourable exception of Nationwide, had passed on the1.5 per cent base rate cut to their members (and fewer than half passed on last month's 0.5 per cent cut either). Worse, a string of societies have already pulled their best savings deals.

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