Between a Rock and a Very Smart Place! (1) on the Very Day That Northern Rock Customers Had to Queue like This. Misery: Hundreds Queued at Branches throughout the UK (2) ...the Bank's Top Salesmen Partied at Marbella's Luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel SPLENDOUR: The Hotel's Restaurant Is Famed for Its Fine Food

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Between a Rock and a Very Smart Place! (1) on the Very Day That Northern Rock Customers Had to Queue like This. Misery: Hundreds Queued at Branches throughout the UK (2) ...the Bank's Top Salesmen Partied at Marbella's Luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel SPLENDOUR: The Hotel's Restaurant Is Famed for Its Fine Food


Byline: Tim Worden, Steve Myall

SENIOR managers at Northern Rock went on a luxury corporate junket toSpain on the day tens of thousands of their customers formed huge queues towithdraw their money.

As the bank hovered close to collapse, a dozen of its key employees werechecking into the five-star Villa Padierna Ritz Carlton hotel in Marbella.

The four-day trip, paid for by the bank, started on Friday, September 14, andwas a reward for managers who had hit their mortgage sales targets earlier inthe year.

The bank's credit crisis only started to abate on September 17 when ChancellorAlistair Darling announced that the Government would guarantee all depositsheld at the bank.

By that time, the Northern Rock team, which included Francis Mogg, anoperational director who acted as a media spokesman for the bank on mortgagematters, and Ralph Punter, an assistant director, had just finished sunningthemselves on the Costa del Sol.

Mr Punter, 40, whose Friends Reunited entry records that he 'drinks a lot', wastrue to his word during his stay at the [pounds sterling]160-a-night hotel.

Over three days, he ran up a personal drinks bill of [pounds sterling]104. He also paid for a40-minute manicure at a cost of [pounds sterling]31.

The 122-room Tuscan-style building is surrounded by two 18-hole golf courses.Its grounds are dotted with apple and palm trees and grape vines.

Even though the bank's share price had been slashed by a third, Mr Punter, amarried father-of-two, spent the Friday evening of their arrival sipping wineon the terrace of the hotel's La Loggia restaurant, overlooking theMediterranean.

Mr Mogg, terrace house of Jesmond, stayed in first-floor covered with On the hewoke delivered ate outside Mr Mogg, who lives in a large terrace house in theexclusive area of Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, stayed in a [pounds sterling]160-a-nightsuperior first-floor room, with a king-size bed covered with luxury cottonsheets.

On the morning of September 15, he woke up to a [pounds sterling]23 cooked breakfast deliveredto his room - which he ate outside on his sun terrace while looking out acrossthe Mediterranean.

The next day he opted for continental breakfast and later ordered a [pounds sterling]37.65bottle of white wine from room service.

Meanwhile Northern Rock was drafting in extra staff to cope with calls fromworried customers amid mounting speculation that the bank would be sold. Hiscolleague Mr

Punter ran up an extras bill of [pounds sterling]162 during the trip, including [pounds sterling]104. …

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Between a Rock and a Very Smart Place! (1) on the Very Day That Northern Rock Customers Had to Queue like This. Misery: Hundreds Queued at Branches throughout the UK (2) ...the Bank's Top Salesmen Partied at Marbella's Luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel SPLENDOUR: The Hotel's Restaurant Is Famed for Its Fine Food
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