And not just for the waived fees and discounted interest rates the mortgage lender lavished on “Friends of Angelo”—a designation applied to anyone Countrywide’s chief executive Angelo Mozilo might wish to cultivate, from small-town mayors to U.S. senators, leaders of federal government housing agencies to rank-and-file employees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
But also for the excuses Countrywide executives made for favored borrowers, like these two snippets from a House Oversight Committee report on the lender’s V.I.P. program released today:
About then-Fannie Mae Chairman Jim Johnson: “Charge him ½ under prime,” Mr. Mozilo wrote in an email. “Don’t worry about [the credit score]. He is constantly on the road and therefore pays his bills on an irregular basis but he ultimately pays them.”
And about Congressman Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat, whose credit score had raised flags: “[Account executive Americo] Salazar explained that the ‘Anthrax ordeal in the Capital’ prevented Towns from paying bills mailed to his Washington office on time.”