Does Angelo Mozilo spend all of his time thinking of ways to be shady? Now ABC News says that Countrywide had a special “VIP desk” that gave out below market rate loans to Senators and other politically connected people.
Friends of Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo and other high-profile individuals had their home loans handled by the company’s VIP desk, where a team of loan officers would work out favorable terms in conjunction with Mozilo, according to two former Countrywide executives.
Celebrities get their loans from somewhere,” said one former executive who likened the favorable loans to employee discounts. “That desk handled loans for people who were referred by executives. The way that it would customarily work is he [Angelo] might call in, ‘What can we do? What are we charging on this or that?’ and then tell [his friend] ‘I’ll get you that at X. Don’t worry. I’ll get you the loan.”
Some of the beneficiaries didn’t even know that they were receiving special benefits; others may have been aware that they were receiving some kind of discount, according to the former executives. Internally, those whom Mozilo favored for special treatment were referred to as “Friends of Angelo.” The executives say that he was in frequent contact with the company’s VIP desk.
Alleged “Friends of Angelo” include Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, and James Johnson (formerly the head of Fannie Mae and who has just resigned from Senator Barack Obama’s vice presidential search committee). As usual, everyone denies everything.
The VIP Treatment: Countrywide CEO Offers Better Rates for Prominent Few [ABC]