Northern Rock to axe 680 jobs

STATE-OWNED bank Northern Rock is to cut up to 680 jobs this year as it streamlines to cut costs before a return to the private sector.

Newcastle-based Northern Rock said yesterday cost management was a key focus as it seeks to return to profit. The bank said economic and trading conditions were challenging for lenders like it that are mainly funded from retail savings, with low interest rates and the mortgage market subdued.

Northern Rock has slimmed down since being nationalised three years ago after being hit by the first run on a British bank for over a century.