The British government had to deal with not just one but two nationalised lenders, in the form of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley.

The UK treasury split Northern Rock, which took deposits in Ireland, in two: a "good bank" and a "bad bank" that came into being at the beginning of this year. The good bank, called Northern Rock plc, retained the old bank's deposits book and was free to begin lending again. The government hopes it will soon be able to privatise it, allowing the state to recoup some of the billions of pounds it needed in taxpayer support. Rumoured bidders include former National Irish Bank owners National Australia Group, Richard Branson's Virgin Money and Tesco's personal finance arm.

The second company, Northern Rock Asset Management, will remain in state hands as its £50bn mortgage book is run down over time. With €28bn of Anglo's loan Nama-bound, the Irish state will find itself with a much smaller bad asset pool to run off.

Bradford & Bingley, a smaller former building society, was much easier to deal with. The government is keeping the mortgage book, while its branches and deposit book were sold to Spanish lender Santander. Santander is also rumoured to be interested in branches that Royal Bank of Scotland will sell in the coming months.