The voices in Angelo Mozilo's head

February 10, 2011: 4:37 PM ET

'A great story to tell'

Think you've got problems? Stop whining. Think for a second what Angelo Mozilo has been through.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today released more documents and interviews backing the 550-page report it released last month. Among those is a March 2007 email in which Mozilo reminds himself of the points he will make at a board meeting that day.

Mozilo, of course, built Countrywide into the nation's biggest mortgage lender, in part by making loans that were so unsound no one else would bother. These loans made Countrywide look like a profit machine, which it wasn't -- but who cares, that point was lost on almost everyone till Mozilo raked in more than $100 million in stock sale proceeds.

At the time of this email, the market was starting to wake up to the scale of the losses that would swamp the company in the event of a prolonged housing downturn – though few understood the depth of Countrywide's problems, and some fans were still talking up the stock.

Even so, Mozilo shows in the email that his skin is not only orange, it is thin. And it conceals, naturally, a heart of gold.

We have a great story to tell but my guess is that this will be mean spirited political theater in which we will be painted as the bad guy. In fact one of the advocates is bringing in a 77 year old woman who is claiming the she has been duped and abused by Countrywide. We will attempt to bring our the fact that his woman was in foreclosure with another lender and we saved her from foreclosure, consolidated her massive delinquent credit card debt and lowered her overall debt payment by approximately $300 per month. She went ahead and defaulted on our loan and is claiming foul. This is a loan we would make today under the tightest of guidelines and we will do everything possible to get that story out.

Countrywide, with $172 billion in assets, is getting dragged through the mud by, um, a 77-year-old deadbeat? Yes, that is quite a story all right.

Of course, the story the market came to take more interest in was the one about the bad loans and dependence on market borrowing that were pushing Countrywide inexorably toward insolvency.

In the an early sign of the meltdown that was to come, Bank of America (BAC) eventually bought Countrywide for a fifth of its March 2007 price – though it is still paying for that deal, and how, years later.

Also on

  • BofA's highest paid? Mozilo

    Forget CEO Brian Moynihan and top trader Tom Montag. The most lavishly compensated guy at Bank of America is, um, Angelo Mozilo.

    That is pretty impressive when you consider that Mozilo (deeply tanned, right) hasn't lifted a finger for BofA (BAC) for almost three years, since the bank completed the purchase of his crumbling subprime empire in mid-2008.

    But funding the former Countrywide chief's retirement leisure isn't cheap. A settlement reached this week MORE

    - Feb 3, 2011 12:01 PM ET
  • SEC-Countrywide case headed to trial

    The biggest subprime fraud defendant will have his day in court next month.

    A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission's suit against Angelo Mozilo and two other former Countrywide executives can proceed. A trial is set for Oct. 19 in Los Angeles, Reuters reported, following the ruling by U.S. District Judge John Walter.

    The case hinges on the degree to which Mozilo and his co-defendants, former Countrywide President MORE

    - Sep 17, 2010 11:45 AM ET
  • Fannie Mae 153, Freddie Mac 20

    No, that's not the score of a particularly one-sided intramural basketball game.

    It's a tally of Countrywide loans extended on preferential terms to workers at the government-backed mortgage companies.

    The count was released Tuesday by Rep. Darrell Issa, who sent a letter to Fannie (FNMA) and Freddie's (FMCC) federal regulator requesting that the loans be investigated.

    This is not Issa's first bite at the rotten Countrywide apple. The California Republican has been investigating the big MORE

    - Jul 20, 2010 4:53 PM ET
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