Northern Rock is considering a plan to run the stricken mortgage lender as a smaller entity if efforts to find a buyer prove unsuccessful. Financial Times

Northern Rock’s board is contemplating a move that would see the bank continue as an independent entity. The plan would involve attracting new management, raising additional capital from shareholders and possibly selling some of the bank’s assets to other institutions.

But it is highly unlikely that such a plan would be activated unless attempts to sell Northern Rock fall through. The bank is talking to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group as well as Olivant, the private equity firm run by Luqman Arnold, the former chief executive of Abbey National and UBS.