Bank of England governor Mervyn King won sympathy from business leaders in the West Midlands after being grilled by MPs about his handling of the Northern Rock crisis.

Prior to yesterday's hearings before the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee there had been calls for Mr King, a former pupil of Wolverhampton Grammar School, to resign.

But with deputy governor Sir John Gieve, who has responsibility for financial stability, seemingly taking most of the flak, Mr King was believed to have done enough to save his scalp.

Responding to the televised hearing, Katie Teasdale, policy advisor to Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said images of people queuing outside branches of the Northern Rock earlier this week had not helped the Bank and she was sure that it would have preferred to act outside the glare of publicity.

However, she said she did not believe that it had eroded confidence in the BoE or Mr King.

"We think there are lessons to be learned from what has happened and that there needs to be a behavioural change. However, we don't think that the business community will be calling for Mr King's head just yet."

Grey Denham, regional chairman of the CBI in the West Midlands, said he believed there was a lot of sympathy for the situation in which Mr King had found himself.

"I think there is much truth in the fact that what happened was not of the bank's doing and what it was faced with no one had seen the likes of before.

"Mr King has been a good governor during his tenure and you don't suddenly become a bad governor overnight."

As far as the confidence of the West Midlands business community was concerned, Mr Denham said he believed many firms had more to worry about than Mr King.

"I don't think the average businessman in the West Midlands goes to sleep at night worried about whether Mr King will have a job or not," he said.

National commentators, however, said that Sir John's performance yesterday was disappointing and that he might bear the brunt of the blame for the Northern Rock crisis.

Committee chairman John McFall accused Sir John of being "asleep in the back shop" and failing to spot the problems besetting Northern Rock.

Mr King put up a combative performance, and neatly deflected some of the criticism over the central bank's handling of the run on Northern Rock - the worst seen by a British bank for more than 30 years - by blaming the regulatory framework.

Legislation meant the Bank had not been able to work unseen to help shore up Northern Rock's balance sheet, he said.

"Despite the events of the last few weeks, King has generally proved an excellent choice as BoE governor and his positive reputation with his peers is deserved," said Russell Jones of RBC Capital Markets.

A decision on the governor's future is expected to be announced during Chancellor Alistair Darling's pre-Budget report in October. His current five-year term is due to expire in June 2008.

Mr King insisted that the BoE's independence had not been compromised or that he had been leaned on by the Treasury to offer a £10 billion three-month liquidity boost, which to many appeared to be a U-turn on the part of the central bank.

He told the Treasury committee that Wednesday's announcement was not a U-turn as the funds being offered were to be made at a penal rate, thus punishing financial institutions that have indulged in bad practices.