UK Treasury chief sells $19.8 billion in mortgages acquired in financial crisis

LONDON – Britain’s Treasury says it has sold to a private equity firm some 13 billion pounds ($19.8 billion) in mortgages acquired during the 2008 financial crisis.

The government described its action as the largest ever financial asset sale by a government in Europe. The mortgages, purchased by Cerberus Capital Management, were owned originally by Northern Rock, one of the first lenders to get into trouble during the credit crunch.

The sale means the government has shed over 85 per cent of the assets it took on when saving the former bank.

Treasury chief George Osborne said Friday that the mortgages were sold for 300 million pounds more than book value and that “taxpayers will get back more money from Northern Rock than they were forced to put in during the financial crisis.”