Facing the potential loss of his home, Daniel Bailey decided to do what his lender, Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC), said to do: contact them to work out a deal so he can keep his house. Mr. Bailey didn’t expect, however, to receive a reply from the CEO, Angelo Mozilo.
Mr. Mozilo, meaning to forward the message along with his response to a colleague, accidentally replied to Mr. Bailey’s email saying, “This is unbelievable. Most of these letters now have the same wording. Obviously they are being counseled by some other person or by the internet. Disgusting.”
Now, I don’t know if I even need to say it, but Mozilo’s reply is what is disgusting. This is a guy who led the nation in predatory lending, and is one of the people who is most responsible for the current situation homeowners like Mr. Bailey are in.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong believer in letting real estate speculators - those who bought an additional house banking on the fact that real estate would continue to climb higher - lose their property. That’s simply a fact of life when gambling. What I’m not happy about is letting homeowners who bought just one home, their primary residence, fall flat on their face because they were duped into a bad loan.
There should be assistance for first-time buyers who were taken advantage of. Do I want to assist them? If necessary, but I believe that people like Mr. Mozilo, who raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from these loans, should foot the bill.
It’s apparent from this debacle that Mr. Mozilo doesn’t care at all about the people he swindled money from. In fact, he thinks they’re disgusting. While it’s true he may be directing his “disgusting” comment towards those who created the email template that Mr. Bailey used, that almost makes it worse. The people at LoanSafe.org, those who created the template, are simply trying to help homeowners keep their homes. It’s a non-profit organization created to clean up Mr. Mozilo’s mess. How dare he attack them for helping people keep their homes. Furthermore, it was Countrywide that suggested struggling borrowers contact them!
I wonder how Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), who will likely buy Countrywide, feels about this. It’s certainly not good for their image. It really doesn’t matter much anyway; Mr. Mozilo already made his fortune and he’s probably out golfing somewhere in Florida.