Association risk

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Alliance & Leicester (A&L), one of the UK's biggest mortgage lenders, has suffered - if only by association - from the collapse of fellow lender Northern Rock. While the bank asserts it has no US subprime exposure, and that the sudden liquidity squeeze in the wholesale funding markets had no material impact on profits or franchise growth, its shares have dropped by nearly 25% since Northern Rock asked the Bank of England for support on September 13. In particular, fears that the bank has

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