Compassion Just Ain't Mozilo's Thing

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."

Ouch!

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.

Further Foolishness:

JPMorgan and Bank of America are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Bank of America, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy has never once been caught with its pants down. Of course, it doesn't actually wear pants ...


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  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2008, at 9:59 AM, KevinLamson wrote:

    The blame for this entire "Mortgage Meltdown" can be laid upon the shoulders of all the greedy mortgage loan industry executives and the investment bankers who designed a scheme calculated to make themselves rich. Under the guise of "helping people" to realize the American dream of owning a home, these white collar fraudsters were really only concerned with creating feigned profits by quickly churning mortgage loans into securitized investments which they in turn sold to investors.

    Based upon these feigned profits these executives and their cronies were able to extract large bonuses and convert stock options into personal profits. While the investors got stuck holding the proverbial empty bag. Many investors were large national banks. Ironically these same banks would have never directly loaned money to the borrowers who’s notes they now hold indirectly through their investments in these "mortgage backed securities". It is now estimated that the losses incurred by these banks may well surpass three hundred billion dollars.

    There can be no argument these losses were the result of top to bottom fraud commited by the mortgage and financial industry. Including Countrywide and secondary mortgage market makers, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Citicorp, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers etc. The list goes on and on.

    This mortgage fraud created a false demand for housing in the U.S. This false demand caused an increase in home building. Now with the Mortgage Meltdown the U.S. has an over supply of new and existing homes. This over supply of homes has caused a serious economic ripple effect through every facet of the U.S. economy and global economy. The recovery will take years.

    The U.S. dollar has also suffered against other currencies. In April of 2002 a Euro could be purchased for $.85. now six years later it takes $1.60 to purchase a Euro.

    Rather than throwing themselves out of their executive office windows when their huge financial scandal was discovered and billions of dollars in losses started be reported, most of these white collar crooks simply took early retirement or quietly resigned, taking with them the hundreds of millions they had EARNED for their part in the Largest financial scandal in U.S. history. CEO, Mozilo has simply dug in and is holding on by his finger nails while he collects a huge paycheck each and every month. He is keeping his fingers crossed that the much reported Bank of America bail out of Countrywide actually comes to fruition, so he can cash out of his CFC stock positions. Then quietly retire with the hundreds of millions he raked in. Leaving the American tax payers to clean up the financial ruin he and the other greedy mortgage industry executives created.

    Americans should be outraged at how all this fraud went on unchecked by state or federal authorities.

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