When Steve Crawshaw took over at B&B, he closed down B&B businesses, cut staff numbers by half and turned the building society into a specialist in buy-to-let loans and self-certified mortgages. It became the country’s biggest buy-to-let mortgage provider – capturing 20 per cent of the market.
The business broke down when the wholesale money market collapsed and B&B’s borrowers fell quickly into debt. Crawshaw denied a rights issue was on its way weeks before he asked shareholders for £300m. He left because of serious heart problems in the autumn of 2008, with a £1.8m pension pot. The bank was nationalised in September 2008, when the government took control of the bank’s £50bn mortgages and loans, and its £20bn savings unit and branches was bought by Spain’s Santander.