14 Reasons Why Countrywide Is In The Worst Company Hall Of Fame

As the news breaks that Angelo R. Mozilo, the curiously orange former CEO of Countrywide Financial, has agreed to pay millions of dollars in fines, we decided to take a walk down Countrywide’s Memory Lane… which happens to be a street littered with abandoned and foreclosed houses.

Feb. 2008: Countrywide Says “Our Investors Require” Us To Rip You Off
In which reader/homeowner Matt enters the Byzantine, Mad Hatter-ish world of trying to convince Countrywide that he should be able to drop his Personal Mortgage Insurance.

May 2008: Countrywide Still Asking Consumers To Lie About Their Income
In which Countrywide employees show that you can’t teach an old orange dog new tricks.

May 2008: Countrywide CEO Accidentally Emails Homeowner, Calls His Plea For Help “Disgusting”
In which Orangelo Mozilo shows just how much he respects the people who paid for his self-tanning lotion.

June 2008: Countrywide CEO Gave Below Market Rate Loans To Senators From A Special “VIP Desk”
In which Mozilo shows that he loves both kinds of people: Senators and Congressmen.

June 2008: Countrywide Is About To Foreclose On Ed McMahon
In which Countrywide compels a former TV giant into doing commercials for FreeCreditReport and a certain gold-purchasing company.

June 2008: Countrywide CEO: “Countrywide Has Made A Positive Impact On The Country”
In which we seek to find out where we can get whatever kinds of drugs Angelo Mozilo is taking.

July 2008: Countrywide Home Loans Wins Consumerist’s Worst Company In America Contest
In which Countrywide earns what would be its first — and last — Golden Poo, but only because it is now called Bank of America.

Aug. 2008: Former Countrywide Employee Arrested For Stealing, Selling Customer Identities
In which we learn that you don’t have to be a CEO at Countrywide to be a crook.

Oct. 2008: Countrywide To Fixed Rate Customer: Your Mortgage Is About To Adjust!
In which Countrywide attempts to trick Graham into exchanging his existing fixed mortgage for a nice, adjustable one.

Jan. 2009: Countrywide Freezes HELOCs, Says “It’s Not You, It’s Your Home”
In which Eric finds out that Countrwide has frozen his home equity line of credit because home values in his ‘hood have dropped… because of all the subprime mortgages written by companies like Countrywide.

March 2009: Battle Of The Most Hated Companies: Countrywide Sues AIG
In which the world’s worst mortgage lender and the world’s worst insurance company pull out a measuring tape to see who has the bigger a-hole.

June 2009: SEC: Countrywide CEO Called Mortgages “Toxic” Three Freaking Years Ago
In which Angelo Mozilo tries to convince the world that “toxic” is mortgage industry slang for “reliable.”

May 2010: Countrywide Settles Class-Action Suit For $624 Million
In which Bank of America really begins to regret buying Countrywide.

July 2010: Countrywide Sued For Discriminating Against Black And Latino Mortgage Buyers
In which we learn that Countrywide may not have been the equal-opportunity a-holes we’d made them out to be.

For a more complete (and perhaps more depressing) time capsule of the last 2+ years, combine these with last week’s Bank of America round-up.

Comments

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  1. dragonfire81 says:

    Fines, fines and more fines. Throw someone in prison for a long, long time already. I hope I eventually see the day where once, just once, a white collar criminal really pays dearly for what they did.

    • kingofmars says:

      Look at Madoff. He got a 150 year sentence for the largest ponzi scheme. You also need to look at what is more likely to make things right. Get the money back from the a-holes, or pay to make them suffer in jail.

      • Galium says:

        Do you really think he will stay there. I am waiting for the usual ” he is ill so let him go home” speech to come along. Besides you don’t really think he was the only one who was involved. This compares to what they did with Krupp after WWII. The senile elder took the blame for all of Krupps crimes while the rest of the family walked.

        • huadpe says:

          Madoff will stay there until he dies. The reason is that federal prison is the only place he’s safe. He didn’t just steal money from half of Florida and New York, he stole from some less savory characters as well, such as the Russian mob, and Japanese Yakuza. He needs to stay there, or else be murdered.

      • YOXIM says:

        Madoff didn’t grease the right palms; that’s why he’s in the clink. Also, the amount of money Madoff ripped off is miniscule compared to what morgtage giants like Cunty-wide up here did. Madoff operated right under the nose of the law and got away with it for a long time. Why? Because the regulators were lazy and incompetent. Imagine what would have happened if he used some of that money he stole to make a few strategic “campaign contributions”. He’d probably still be out there ripping people off.

  2. dangerp says:

    So, if I understand you correctly, this Mozilo character is orange?

    /sarcasm

  3. moorie679 says:

    Someone explain to me how these fines work ? These b@stards look at the fine and look at their gain and just shake their head saying aah if worse comes to worse I will just pay the fine. Nothing gets fixed because of these fines…

  4. agent211 says:

    Countrywide gave me my first mortgage back in ’04. They approved me for $450k and didn’t need proof of my salary or financial health. I borrowed what I could afford, so I’ve been ok , but dang…

    • tbax929 says:

      That’s why so many people got into trouble. I was watching House Hunters one night, and the husband actually said to the wife: “This is the amount they approved us for, so we must be able to afford it”.

      When I applied for a condo loan in 2005, I was approved for way more than I could afford. I didn’t suddenly decide that I must be able to afford that huge payment.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i got approved for about $14k more than i spent on a house. the only reason i spent a teeny bit above what i had budgeted was because that budget included eventually renovating parts of the house for accessibility since i have a progressive disability but this house is already almost completely accessible.
        it was especially weird since the credit union that approved my mortgage also holds my car loan, my credit card and is where my paycheck goes. it’s not like they don’t know what my major expenses are. what they approved me for would have put me in a bind financially if i had been stupid enough to buy a house in that range

  5. Alvis says:

    “In which reader/homeowner Matt enters…”

    Matt isn’t a homeowner, Countrywide is.

  6. jonquil says:
  7. jp7570-1 says:

    This jerk needs to do some serious jail time. And just for good measure, the Feds should foreclose on all of his homes.

  8. Bkhuna says:

    Let’s not forget this entry into the hall of shame:

    “Two U.S. senators, two former Cabinet members, and a former ambassador to the United Nations received loans from Countrywide Financial through a little-known program that waived points, lender fees, and company borrowing rules for prominent people.

    “Senators Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide’s “V.I.P.” program in 2003 and 2004, according to company documents and emails and a former employee familiar with the loans.”

    Senator Dodd was writing legislation at the same time he was getting sweetheart deals from countrywide. Where are the Congressional ethics charges? Anyone remember conflict of interest and using your elected position for self enrichment?

    • dangermike says:

      I expect that’s the real reason he didn’t seek reelection. This would certainly have been a major campaign point for his opposition, and being publicized may very well have led to officail investigations and sanctions.

      Personally, I think the matter ought to be pressed, and he should be in jail, or at the very least, stripped of all his post congressional benefits.

  9. ARP says:

    Mozilo made $160M during his past 5 years as CEO. He’s agreed to pay roughly $70M, but the insurance company is going to chip in $20M as part of an indemnity policy. So, his net payment is around $50M. So, his net 5-year salary is around $100M, or about $20M per year. No jail time.

    Yep, that will show him.

  10. jenrevenant says:

    My fiance and I were trying to buy a house right before the wedding. We found one, an abandoned foreclosure owned by Countrywide. Three months later, we were trying to get our earnest money back because they refused to sell to us, even though we were going to pay cash at close. They had accepted the offer, but there was always something wrong with the paperwork. The last straw was when they said they needed the previous owner’s SSN before they could finish the paperwork. Got my money back and bought a nicer house for less cash. Hate Countrywide sooo much.

  11. BoredOOMM says:

    Countrywide = Bank of America Home Loans = BAC Home Loan Servicing.

    Great company to seek a refinance with someone else if you have them currently.

    • nogaddgie says:

      Did that too, but they turned around and bought my loan back. I had told the loan officer the only reason we were doing a re-fi was to get away from Countywide, and I wanted him to make sure that wouldn’t happen. I was furious when I found out, but all the loan guy would say is that it was out of his hands…

  12. nogaddgie says:

    It took over 6 mos to digest their A/A spreadsheet before understanding enough to start seeing what was going on to be able to figure out what they were doing with our mortgage payments to keep us at risk.
    1) They used 6-10 different ways to generate false late fees on monthly payments, applied them retroactively.
    2) Payments posted and applied on wrong account, misplaced, misapplied or left unapplied.
    3) Cause and pursue eroneous forclosures actions and fees.
    4) Disappearing monies shorted from payments, no explanation,reference or accounting for-just gone. Told it was for “BPO” Refused to provide any written explanation, billings or documentation.
    5) Monthly statements not provided, told they are inaccurate not to go by them, they are not required, done as a courtesy only.
    6) Substituted my homeowners insurancetheir in house lender placed home owners insurance policy at 4x the cost, provided coverage for themselves with absolutely no coverage or protection on or for the house /property or myself.
    7) Used agreement terms of work out plan for past due amount arrangement offer as attempt to hide their use of “Preditory Lending Practices” to get us to total re-fi loan modification that would not only raise our payment, but out interest rates as well.

  13. nogaddgie says:

    It took over 6 mos to digest their A/A spreadsheet before understanding enough to start seeing what was going on to be able to figure out what they were doing with our mortgage payments to keep us at risk.
    1) They used 6-10 different ways to generate false late fees on monthly payments, applied them retroactively.
    2) Payments posted and applied on wrong account, misplaced, misapplied or left unapplied.
    3) Cause and pursue eroneous forclosures actions and fees.
    4) Disappearing monies shorted from payments, no explanation,reference or accounting for-just gone. Told it was for “BPO” Refused to provide any written explanation, billings or documentation.
    5) Monthly statements not provided, told they are inaccurate not to go by them, they are not required, done as a courtesy only.
    6) Substituted my homeowners insurancetheir in house lender placed home owners insurance policy at 4x the cost, provided coverage for themselves with absolutely no coverage or protection on or for the house /property or myself.
    7) Used agreement terms of work out plan for past due amount arrangement offer as attempt to hide their use of “Preditory Lending Practices” to get us to total re-fi loan modification that would not only raise our payment, but out interest rates as well.