Countrywide's Angelo Mozilo has no regrets

mozilo.jpgThe notorious CEO is still not talking about his mortgage company's role in the nation's financial meltdown, but in a 2011 deposition released this week he insisted that the crisis was "not caused by an act of Countrywide," He also said that he only agreed to settle a federal lawsuit for $67.5 million to protect his kids and grand-kids who were getting hassled. From Bloomberg:

Mozilo was responding to questions from an MBIA attorney who asked if he regretted how Calabasas, California-based Countrywide was run after "all the foreclosures and ruined lives and lawsuits." Mozilo called the lawyer's question "nonsensical and insulting." "I have no regrets about how Countrywide was run," Mozilo said. "We were a world-class company in every respect." Mozilo sought to defend his company's role in the mortgage mess even before the U.S. housing market showed signs of recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble. Had he known that unemployment would surge and housing prices would collapse during the financial crisis, Mozilo said he would've attempted to sell his company years earlier than he did.

Mozilo claimed that Countrywide "never made a loan knowingly -- and it would be stupid to do so -- that we knew the borrower could not pay. Never." That's not how any number of Countrywide employees saw it. They remember being hounded by the higher-ups to cut deals, no matter how questionable. And there's more:

While publicly reassuring investors about the quality of his loans, Mozilo issued "dire" internal warnings and engaged in insider trading accelerating stock sales to reap about $140 million, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a 2009 lawsuit. In one e-mail, he described a "particularly profitable subprime product as 'toxic.'" He also wrote that Countrywide was "flying blind" and had "no way" to determine the risks of some adjustable-rate mortgages, the SEC said.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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