Maybe the fact that Countrywide's (NYSE: CFC ) CEO Angelo Mozilo hit "reply" rather than "forward" when typing the "disgusting" heard 'round the world isn't all that outlandish. After all, if you search on the Web for "email blunder" you get well more than a million hits -- most of them telling embarrassing stories of how a mistyped or misaddressed email put the sender in a precarious position.
But of course this isn't any Tom, Dick, or Harry sending an email to his boss that reveals he's still drunk from the night before. This is the chief executive of a multibillion dollar company that is embroiled in controversy, about to go to trial, and trying to make sure Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC ) proposed takeover doesn't fall apart.
The actual text of Mozilo's email wasn't all that egregious. He simply noted that it appeared that most of the emails coming to the company requesting assistance seemed to have the same text, which suggested that there is a common source providing counseling to the borrowers. Oh yeah, and he punctuated the email with "disgusting." But considering the struggles that Countrywide has been going through and the number of emails flooding in, I could think of juicier wording that he might have used. However, when your company is being criticized for not providing enough assistance to struggling borrowers, an email like this is like throwing rocket fuel on the fire.
For the media, a bungle like this is like manna from heaven -- a target doesn't get much bigger. And I can only imagine that the top execs at BofA competitors like Wachovia (NYSE: WB ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C ) , and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) are having a nice chuckle about it.
But what do investors think about all of this? Well, a visit to The Motley Fool's CAPS community shows that many investors have been concerned about Countrywide's callous attitude for a while. NJStockGuru, a CAPS All-Star, quipped earlier this month "I personally know people who have been destroyed by their predatory lending practices. I hope they get what they deserve. (Like their stock going to zero)" and added "A note to the Justice Department: Prosecute CEO Angelo Mozilo!!!"
Meanwhile, fellow CAPS player Suesur21 had some -- let's just say "choicer" -- words about the company. "Greedy [censored]. Lined the CEO and big wig's pockets with usurious interest rates from poor [censored] consumers. Slimy company all the way around and Bank of America buying them won't change things for their image much."
Have some words of your own about Countrywide? Head over to CAPS and let the 105,000 other investors on CAPS know what you think.