Northern Rock has signed a deal with Lloyds TSB, allowing its rival to cherry-pick its best fixed-rate customers so that the nationalised bank can shrink its mortgage book and repay the Bank of England's loan.

Northern Rock will write to eligible customers before their fixed deals end offering a 'streamlined' service for applying to Lloyds. The service starts next month, and will save the jobs of about 100 Northern Rock staff who would have been included in the bank's 2,000 job cuts.

The Independent