"Countrywide was one of the greatest companies in the history of this country," he told Congressional investigators more than two years after Bank of America acquired the Calabasas-based mortgage lender, which at the time was on death's door. Guess it must be one of those parallel universe things. From DealBook:
That bold declaration is one of among many made by Mr. Mozilo in an hourlong interview with the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. The private testimony, released recently by the government panel responsible for rooting out the causes of the crisis, depicts an emboldened former chief executive, defiant in the face of criticism that his company fed the mortgage bubble. Mr. Mozilo told the commission he was "proud of what we accomplished."
The former CEO compared Countrywide with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, telling the examiners that Countrywide's stock grew "25,000 percent over 25 years -- a much better performance than Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway. This is documented." Well, sort of. Between 1982 and August 2007, Countrywide's stock price gained nearly 25,000 percent, that's true. But he neglects to point out that the stock then plunged more than 90 percent, to around $4. Just to be clear, Mozilo agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle federal charges that he misled investors about the company's risky loan portfolio. He also agreed to forfeit $45 million in "ill-gotten gains."