Six years after he lost control of the largest mortgage lender in the U.S., and days after news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles plans to sue him, the Countrywide Financial Corp. founder is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism.Oh those accomplishments.
He remains a defender of Countrywide, even after Bank of America Corp., which bought it in 2008, agreed last month to pay more than $16 billion to end probes into mortgage-bond sales on top of about $55 billion in fines that came before. Mozilo doesn’t understand why he and his firm, blamed by lawmakers and authorities for lax underwriting and predatory lending, have been seen as villains. Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg Angelo Mozilo, former chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial Corp. “No, no, no, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he saidYes, he didn't do anything wrong...and never earned a dime he doesn't think he deserved.
Mozilo's compensation during the United States housing bubble of 2001–06 has come under scrutiny. During that period, his total compensation (including salary, bonuses, options and restricted stock) approached $470 million.But still what a guy.
Two of his friends, former Countrywide director Robert J. Donato and fellow mortgage-industry veteran Howard Levine, praised his spirit. Levine, a friend for at least 50 years, said Mozilo gives a $5 bill to each homeless person he sees on New York’s Fifth Avenue when they visit from California.[cross-posted at Firedoglake]