HomeLatest NewsFeatured HomebuildersHome Buyer ResourcesBinding ArbitrationResource LinksSubmit ComplaintsView ComplaintsTake Action 101!Report Mortgage FraudMortgage Fraud NewsForeclosure NewsConstruction DefectsHome DefectsPhoto GalleryFoundation ProblemsHomeowner Website LinksHOA Reform

HUD FEATURE
1981 - 2015 HUD's
Legacy of Scandals

HOBB-Over 1M visits monthly
Daily Visitors Over 37,000
 Highest Daily 70,723

Main Menu
Home
Latest News
Featured Homebuilders
Home Buyer Resources
Binding Arbitration
Resource Links
Submit Complaints
View Complaints
Take Action 101!
Report Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage Fraud News
Foreclosure News
Construction Defects
Home Defects
Photo Gallery
Foundation Problems
Homeowner Website Links
HOA Reform
Featured Topics
Builder Death Spiral
Report Mortgage Fraud
Foreclosure Special Report
Mold & New Home Guide
Special News Reports
Centex & Habitability
How Fast Can They Build Them?
TRCC Editorial
Texas TRCC Scandal
Texas Watch - Tell Lawmakers
TRCC Recommendations
Sandra Bullock
People's Lawyer
Prevent Nightmare Homes
Choice Homes
Smart Money
Weekly Update Message
HOBB Archives
About HOBB
Contact Us
Fair Use Notice
Legislative Work
Your House

 HOBB News Alerts
and Updates

Click Here to Subscribe

Support HOBB - Become a Sustaining Member
Who's Online
We have 4 guests online
ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration

Property Rights Denied!
Protecting HOA Members' Rights is NOT The #1 Priority
of Managed Communities
The High Price of Managed Living, Books and Records Hidden
gives appearances of impropriety
Editorial Feature: Part One - Are Homeowners' Rights a Myth? 

Part Two: HOA Bureaucrats Overstep Their Authority

Bad Guys at Countrywide Profit on Good Ole Mortgage Fraud
Friday, 06 March 2009

Ex-Leaders of Countrywide Profit From Bad Loan
So it may come as a surprise that a dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess. Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide’s former president, and his team have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect. “It has been very successful — very strong,” John Lawrence, the company’s head of loan servicing, told Mr. Kurland one recent morning in a glass-walled boardroom here at PennyMac’s spacious headquarters, opened last year in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.

Ex-Leaders of Countrywide Profit From Bad Loan

Published: March 3, 2009
ALABASAS, Calif. — Fairly or not, Countrywide Financial and its top executives would be on most lists of those who share blame for the nation’s economic crisis. After all, the banking behemoth made risky loans to tens of thousands of Americans, helping set off a chain of events that has the economy staggering.
          
              
                                                                                                               J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

          Stanford Kurland, formerly of Countrywide, has a new venture.
So it may come as a surprise that a dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess.

Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide’s former president, and his team have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect.

“It has been very successful — very strong,” John Lawrence, the company’s head of loan servicing, told Mr. Kurland one recent morning in a glass-walled boardroom here at PennyMac’s spacious headquarters, opened last year in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.

“In fact, it’s off-the-charts good,” he told Mr. Kurland, who was leaning back comfortably in his leather boardroom chair, even as the financial markets in New York were plunging.

As hundreds of billions of dollars flow from Washington to jump-start the nation’s staggering banks, automakers and other industries, a new economy is emerging of businesses that hope to make money from the various government programs that make up the largest economic rescue in history.

They include big investors who are buying up failed banks taken over by the federal government and lobbyists. And there is PennyMac, led by Mr. Kurland, 56, once the soft-spoken No. 2 to Angelo R. Mozilo, the perpetually tanned former chief executive of Countrywide and its public face.

Mr. Kurland has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from big players like BlackRock, the investment manager, to finance his start-up. Having sold off close to $200 million in stock before leaving Countrywide, he has also put up some of his own cash.

While some critics are distressed that Mr. Kurland and his team are back in business, the executives say that PennyMac’s operations serve as a model for how the government, working with banks, can help stabilize the housing market and lead the nation out of the recession. “It is very important to the entire team here to be part of a solution,” Mr. Kurland said, standing in his office, which has views of the Santa Monica Mountains.

It is quite evident that their efforts are, in fact, helping many distressed homeowners.

“Literally, their assistance saved my family’s home,” said Robert Robinson, of Felton, Pa., whose interest rate was cut by more than half, making his mortgage affordable again.

But to some, it is disturbing to see former Countrywide executives in the industry again. “It is sort of like the arsonist who sets fire to the house and then buys up the charred remains and resells it,” said Margot Saunders, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, which for years has sought to place limits on what it calls abusive lending practices by Countrywide and other companies.

More than any other major lending institution, Countrywide has become synonymous with the excesses that led to the housing bubble. The firm’s reputation has been so tarnished that Bank of America, which bought it last year at a bargain price, announced that the name and logo of Countrywide, once the biggest mortgage lender in the nation, would soon disappear.

Mr. Kurland acknowledges pushing Countrywide into the type of higher-risk loans that have since, in large numbers, gone into default. But he said that he always insisted that the loans go only to borrowers who could afford to repay them. He also said that Countrywide’s riskiest lending took place after he left the company, in late 2006, after what he said was an internal conflict with Mr. Mozilo and other executives, whom he blames for loosening loan standards.

In retrospect, Mr. Kurland said, he regrets what happened at Countrywide and in the mortgage industry nationwide, but does not believe he deserves blame. “It is horrible what transpired in the industry,” said Mr. Kurland, who has never been subject to any regulatory actions.

But lawsuits against Countrywide raise questions about Mr. Kurland’s portrayal of his role. They accuse him of being at the center of a culture shift at Countrywide that started in 2003, as the company popularized a type of loan that often came with low “teaser” interest rates and that, for some, became unaffordable when the low rate expired.

The lawsuits, including one filed by New York State’s comptroller, say Mr. Kurland was well aware of the risks, and even misled Countrywide’s investors about the precariousness of the company’s portfolio, which grew to $463 billion in loans, from $62 billion, three times faster than the market nationwide, during the final six years of his tenure.

“Kurland is seeking to capitalize on a situation that was a product of his own creation,” said Blair A. Nicholas, a lawyer representing retired Arkansas teachers who are also suing Mr. Kurland and other former Countrywide executives. “It is tragic and ironic. But then again, greed is a growth industry.”

David K. Willingham, a lawyer representing Mr. Kurland in several of these suits, said the allegations related to Mr. Kurland were without merit, and motions had been filed to seek their dismissal.

Federal banking officials — without mentioning Mr. Kurland by name — added that just because an executive worked at an institution like Countrywide did not mean he was to blame for questionable lending practices. They said that it was important to do business with experienced mortgage operators like Mr. Kurland, who know how to creatively renegotiate delinquent loans.

PennyMac, whose full legal name is the Private National Mortgage Acceptance Company, also received backing from BlackRock and Highfields Capital, a hedge fund based in Boston. It makes its money by buying loans from struggling or failed financial institutions at such a huge discount that it stands to profit enormously even if it offers to slash interest rates or make other loan modifications to entice borrowers into resuming payments.

Its biggest deal has been with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which it paid $43.2 million for $560 million worth of mostly delinquent residential loans left over after the failure last year of the First National Bank of Nevada. Many of these loans resemble the kind that Countrywide once offered, with interest rates that can suddenly balloon. PennyMac’s payment was the equivalent of 38 cents on the dollar, according to the full terms of the agreement.

Under the initial terms of the F.D.I.C. deal, PennyMac is entitled to keep 20 cents on every dollar it can collect, with the government receiving the rest. Eventually that will rise to 40 cents.

Phone operators for PennyMac — working in shifts — spend 15 hours a day trying to reach borrowers whose loans the company now controls. In dozens of cases, after it has control of loans, it moves to initiate foreclosure proceedings, or to urge the owners to sell the house if they do not respond to calls, are not willing to start paying or cannot afford the house. In many other cases, operators offer drastic cuts in the interest rate or other deals, which PennyMac can afford, given that it paid so little for the loans.

PennyMac hopes to achieve a profit of at least 20 percent annually, and it is actively courting other investors to build its portfolio, which now consists of $800 million in loans, to as much as $15 billion in the next 18 months, executives said. For the borrowers whose loans have ended up with PennyMac, it can translate into an extraordinary deal.

The Laverdes, of Porter Ranch, Calif., had fallen three months behind on their mortgage after sales at a furniture store owned by the family dipped in the economic crisis. Margarita Laverde and her husband were fearful that they might need to move their four children, three dogs and giant saltwater aquarium into a cramped apartment, leaving behind their dream home — a five-bedroom ranch on a suburban street overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

But a PennyMac representative instead offered to cut the interest rate on their $590,000 loan to 3 percent, from 7.25 percent, cutting their monthly payments nearly in half, Ms. Laverde said.

“I kept on asking, ‘Are you sure this is correct? Are you sure?’ ” Ms. Laverde said. Even with this reduction, PennyMac stands to make a profit of at least 50 percent, a company official said.

Ms. Laverde could not care less that executives at PennyMac used to work at Countrywide.

“What matters,” she said, “is that we know our house is secure and our credit is safe.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/business/04penny.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

 
< Prev   Next >

 Texas, First Home Lemon Law Debated in the Nation
Homebuyers Need a Home Lemon Law

Search HOBB.org

 Beware of HOA Payment Plan! 

HOA Foreclosures Big Business 
ON THE COMMONS with Shu Bartholomew
Dr. Evan McKenzie HOA Governments

Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
Economic Armageddon


Amazon
Barnes & Noble

 Feature
Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing

NY Times: Building Flawed American Dreams 
Read CATO Institute: 
HUD Scandals

Listen to NPR:
Reckless Endangerman
by
Gretchen Morgenson : How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed
to Financial Crisis - Fannie Mae

ATTENTION TAXPAYERS:
 
Pulte-Centex $900 Million Grant
Bad Guys at Countrywide Profit on Mortgage Toxins

NPR Special Report
Part I Listen Now
Perry Home - No Warranty 
Part II Listen Now
Texas Favors Builders

Washington Post
The housing bubble, in four chapters
BusinessWeek Special Reports
Bonfire of the Builders
Homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis
Housing: That Sinking Feeling

Arbitration Fairness Now!
Sen Feingold, Rep Johnson
Introduce Consumer Justice
 
Senate Passes Franken
Binding Arbitration Amendment
  
   
Public Citizen Report 
Home Court Advantage
 

 (See photos) & Latest News

Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
 Arbitration Hearing,
Video of Homeowners
Testimony Advance to 1:55

Arbitration Bill Passes Senate
Four years to fight to get in court is not a day in Court, Jamie Leigh Jones 

 


Legislative
Watch
TEXAS ABOLISHES BUILDERS
PROTECTION AGENCY TRCC
 


Texas Regulates Homebuyers
 
Texas Comptroller Condemns TRCC Builder Protection Agency
TRCC is the punishment phase of homeownership in Texas

HOBB Update Messages

Consumer Affairs Builder Complaints

 TRCC Implosion
 TRCC Shut Down
 Sunset Report

IS YOUR STATE NEXT?
As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
Knowledge and Financial Responsibility are still Optional for Texas Home Builders

OUTSTANDING FOX4 REPORT
TRCC from Bad to Worse
Case of the Crooked House

Perry's Gifts Keep on Talking
Sun Never Sets On Politicians Taking Homebuilder Money

TRCC AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE
The Pat and Bob Egert Building & TRCC Experience 

Homebuilder's Right-To-Repair Illusion

Builders Looking for Federal Handouts

How Texas Home Building Industry shaped the TRCC to regulate buyers 

SpotLight
LiveTalk Internet

Build it right the first time
An interview with Janet Ahmad

HUD's Broken System
From HUD's Deregulation to Disgrace
Did HUD Secretary Cisneros
 Mastermind Predatory Lending?

Take Action
Ban Binding Mandatory Arbitration

Send a message urging your Congressman to support all legislation banning this unfair practice

Voting Texas Style
What Lawmaker is Voting for you?

Most Read

 Give Me Back My Rights Campaign
Model State Arbitration Legislation
Fair Homebuyer Contract Model

Bad Binding Arbitration Experience?
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
or call 1-210-402-6800

NCPIRG
Homebuyers' Bill of Rights
Tips for a Better Built Home and to Protect Your Investment

Drum Major Institute
for Public Policy

Tort Deform
Report Your Arbitration Experience

Homebuilding Texas Style
And the walls came
tumblin' down

 Texas Homebuilder
Bob Perry Political Contributions

  The Agency Bob Perry Built
 TRCC Connection News
Tort Reform

NPR Interview - Perry's
Political influence movement.
Click to listen 

Texas Homebuyers
Fight for Rights

TRCC Abolish or Fix
or Pass Home Lemon Law
or
Homebuyers Bill of Rights

POLICYHOLDERS OF AMERICA POLL
82% would not vote back in office any legislator, regardless of party, that is soft on bad homebuilders?

REWARD
MOST WANTED

ARIZONA REGISTRAR OF CONTRACTORS
Have you seen any of these individuals

Pulte Homeowner Survey
Warranty & Mortgage Experience
 Click to participate

Tort Reform Feature
Texas Monthly
 Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!

Special Money Report
Big Money and Shoddy Construction:Texas Home Buyers Left Out in the Cold
Read More
Read Report: Big Money…
Home Builder Money Source of Influence

Letters to the Editor
Write your letters to the Editor

Homeowner Websites

top of page

© 2017 HomeOwners for Better Building
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.