The one-time giant among U.K. mortgage lenders, Northern Rock, which holds a fifth of all residential mortgages, continues to find itself hobbled. Despite continued assistance from the Bank of England and impending takeover bids, the fate of the bank's Granite master trust is now facing dark predictions.

In the interim, the bank continues to operate in limbo, helping to feed criticism that the British government is taking too long in reaching an outcome on Northern Rock. In fact, the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, is facing intense criticism in the mainstream media. Also, the general public has voiced fears that Northern Rock's capital lifelines will be footed by taxpayer money, a strategy that they see as inappropriate.

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