The number of Northern Rock borrowers more than three months in arrears on mortgage repayments has risen fivefold in the previous 12 months. More than 17,000 out of its 585,000 borrowers were in arrears, and a further 170,000, a third of customers, were in negative equity, as the bank confirmed yesterday a ?1.4 billion loss for 2008. Chief executive Gary Hoffman said it was affordability rather than negative equity that was the key factor in determining how many more loan defaults the bank would suffer.
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