March 19, 2009

“Report Details Countrywide’s Efforts to Benefit VIPs”

From the Hartford Courant:

Executives at Countrywide Financial, one of the biggest names of the housing boom, routinely violated internal company policies to provide below-market rates on home loans to the politically connected and powerful, according to a congressional report to be released Thursday.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who is named in the report, has denied that he received any special deal from Countrywide. Last month he said that he would refinance the two mortgages he received through the company.

Loan documents show how far Countrywide went to give loans to VIPs through a special program known as “Friends of Angelo,” named after the company’s chief executive Angelo Mozilo, according to congressional investigators. Executives manually overrode the company’s computer software that routinely warned that certain additional fees would be necessary to accommodate below-market rates.

That was in addition to lengthy discussions on the merits of giving a special deal to a particular borrower, missives from Mozilo to employees telling them to give VIPs breaks and other activities.


Recipients of special loans included senators and other officials, prominent businessmen, congressional aides, celebrities and journalists, including Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, Jackson’s daughter and others.

Beneficiaries of the VIP program were featured in accounts in Portfolio magazine and other publications last year that exposed the Countrywide initiative.

Countrywide, which handed out many of the loans that turned out to be toxic waste on the books of banks, faltered in 2007 at the onset of the financial crisis and was sold to Bank of America.

Bank of America said that it will cooperate fully with any official inquiry into this Countrywide program.

Most recipients of VIP loans have said in news accounts that they had no idea they were receiving a special deal. But the report says that Countrywide “clearly” indicated to borrowers they were getting special deals, usually by including business cards indicating that the loan came from a VIP unit.

But remember, people. Obamaco will call on YOU to sacrifice. FOR THE GREATER GOOD!

Robert Feinberg, a 12-year Countrywide employee who processed VIP loans, told investigators that it was standard practice to tell borrowers “your loan was specially priced by Angelo.”

I’m guessing this reporter for the Hartford Courant wasn’t a VIP. But I wonder how many on the JournoList were?

Just spitballing here. Wouldn’t want there to be an investigation or anything into potential conflicts of interest between the mainstream journalists sharing a media spin tank with Obama’s budget guy, Congressional Dems, sweatheart deals, and the astounding spin to the coverage of all this up until now.

— Not when there are more important things to do, like tell us what how Obama had the bestest most festive Shamrock Day at the White House ever!

(h/t IP)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:55pm

Comments (19)

  1. Whoooie! Time to heat up the tar-pot…. Who gots da feathers?

  2. Text size? I don’t get it. What does it mean?

  3. Bad cut and paste job. Fixed.

  4. This is fun:

    “Fannie plans bonuses of $1M for 4 execs

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fannie Mae plans to pay retention bonuses of at least $1 million to four key executives as part of a plan to keep hundreds of employees from leaving the government-controlled company.

    Rival mortgage finance company Freddie Mac is planning similar awards, but has not yet reported on which executives will benefit.

    The two companies, which together own or back more than half of the home mortgages in the country, have been hobbled by skyrocketing loan defaults. Fannie recently requested $15 billion in federal aid, while Freddie has sought a total of almost $45 billion.

    Fannie Mae disclosed its “broad-based” retention program in a recent regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company was only required to disclose the amounts for the top-paid executives, who will pocket at least $470,000 on top of their base salaries.

    The bonuses are more than double last year’s, which ranged from $200,000 to $260,000. Another round of bonuses ranging from $330,000 to $429,000 are planned for next February.”

  5. Hey, don’t look at me. I live in the President’s colon.

  6. Not only should JournoList ties be investigated to this, but what about the recipients of these bonuses campaign contributions to O!? If the order to maintain their bonuses came down from on high mount O!lympus’s staff wouldn’t a campaign contribution help grease the skids? Nah no way nothing to see there either.

  7. I told this Dodd story once before, but it seems like it deserves a reairing. Back in the late eighties – early nineties, I spent a lot of time, like every night, in a neighborhood DC bar (on Ct. Ave, no less!) Dodd used to show up in now and then. He knew the owner (guessing, probably from as far back as prep-school in DC), who I’ll call Johnny [not his name]. I happened to have developed a friendship with the Johnny too, who was always there, drinking, playing bridge and watching sports right along with the rest of us.

    One night Dodd came in and made of show of greeting his pal, but once he’d gone to the bar to order, Johnny leaned over and whispered to me with unconcealed contempt, “Chris expects to be comp’td wherever he goes in town. He’s got tabs run up in the thousands all over the place. What a prick.” Mind you, Dodd was standing no more than eight or so feet away. But that is who he is, I think.

  8. And the guy drank cranberry juice like an overworked hooker. If that’s relevant.

  9. But that is who he is, I think.

    And he gets his free drinks no matter who knows it.

    And he knows that.

    And it’s good.

  10. Yep, although, not there anymore, they closed down.

  11. If Chris Dodd does down over this, it would be very sweet.

    Barney Frank cannot hide is fannie hole? What is the intent of Patterico’s post here?

  12. Pingback: Moe Lane » Hi, Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). Enjoying your Countrywide mortgage?

  13. Why hasn’t someone in the media already looked into who is on journolist and getting favorable treatment because of it? Guild doesn’t really trump telling the truth does it?

  14. Oh and we feel Mr. Patterico should be repeatedly admonished, aggressively ignored and shunned from all associations everywhere for his sloppy use of the English language in his obviously prejudiced attack on Barney Frank. We are especially happy to be able to cite Mr. Patterico’s body of work concerning Rush Limbaugh and the use of language as support for our position. Remember, we do this, as much as it saddens us, because that’s the way Mr. Patterico wants it…

  15. Oh and check Pat’s site. There have been changes it appears…

  16. Does it begin to seem that Obama is forcing Dodd under the bus? Countrywide and AIG, Dodd’s suddenly coming out with more confessions than a Soviet show-trial defendant.

    I’ve hypothesized that the utter screw-up that is the first two months of the Obama Administration is due to a swollen-headed Obama declaring independece from the cabal that managed him, and the cabal stepping back to let him learn just how incompetent he really is. Perhaps Dodd-as-fall-guy is the first concrete sign of Obama’s abject apologies to Daley, Ayers, and Wright?

  17. Pingback: Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » Just how gullible do they think we are?