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Scott Jagow: There’s a show on the BBC — a morning business program called “Wake Up to Money.” Thought it might be interesting to talk to the host of that program. His name is Mickey Clark, and he joins us right now. Mickey, what’s been the British reaction to this financial situation?
Mickey Clark: Well I think a lot of people, they hear about the credit crunch, they hear about banks losing money, and it’s just something that’s been going on in the background. But as the economy starts to grow into a hole, people are starting to feel the impact on their wallets, their homes and the like.
Jagow: I heard you were telling a story over the air, a personal story about not being able to get credit over the weekend?
Clark: Yes — my wife went shopping on Friday with our oldest daughter, who’s got her own place. We were going to treat her to her own kitchen. She said that she’d give the guy in the shop all the details, and when they checked with the credit rating agency, they kicked it back and said sorry, but you’ve been refused. Wouldn’t give a reason. And later that night I was a bit confused. But I suddenly said to her, well who did you actually go with? And she said well it’s a company called MFI, which is one of our bigger retailers of kitchen equipment. And I said there’s a danger they’re going to go bust over the weekend. In actual fact, they almost did — the management had put together a buyout. That’s a company that was owned by private equity. So once again, you see in the situation where people have borrowed money, bought a business and it’s effectively gone to the wall.
Jagow: What was your reaction when you heard about this vote against the $700 billion bailout?
Clark: Well, it was this awful silence for a second, and then the phones started ringing and people kept calling me and saying you know, they’ve heard they’ve rejected the vote, Wall Street’s down 700, 800 points, you know this is the end. But what we’ve seen now is the fact that in London’s view, Congress is going to have to agree a deal later this week or over the weekend. I’m not happy with having to put $700 billion into the banking system, but it’s the consequences if you don’t and the other banks go under — I think they’ve just gotten themselves into such a mess.
Jagow: OK, Mickey Clark, the host to “Wake Up to Money” on the BBC. Thanks.
Clark: My pleasure — let’s hope for better times ahead.
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