Some of this stuff you simply cannot makeup. At this point, I think the majority of folks have come to realize that any legislation trying to help homeowners and lenders is guided by politics rather than good economics. There is a fascinating incident that occurred where our favorite CEO appears to have replied to the wrong e-mail. Whoops! We have all witnessed this type of e-mail in our working lives. I recall being Cc’d (carbon copied) on an e-mail with a dozen or so other’s about a colleague’s retirement. One of those on the Cc list accidentally replied to all and wrote “thank god this bi— is out!” clearly intending the e-mail go to one of her contacts on the list and obviously not to the main retiree. Hilarity ensued after that.
Here is the rundown:
- 1. Borrower takes out a loan with Countrywide
- 2. Borrower has problem paying loan back
- 3. Borrower e-mails numerous Countrywide e-mail addresses including Angelo Mozilo about a loan modification.
- 4. CEO forwards message to correct party.
- 5. Sends another message stating that he suspects folks are using form e-mails and ends the message with “disgusting.”
- 6. E-mail not intended for all to see.
- 7. E-mail now public
- 8. Hilarity ensues.
The original post was made over on a Loansafe.org forum where borrowers in trouble were trying to get advice on the best way to go about doing loan modifications. Loss mitigation is a treacherous road to go down for the uninitiated so this borrower sought out help and found a community of others online. Here is the message sent back to the borrower from Mr. Mozilo:
Subject Re: bailey acct# xxxxxxxxxx
Interesting to find that you think my letter is disgusting. I will send this on….
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.”
You really need to read the entire thread. There needs to be a mandate that all CEOs have the reply to all button removed from their Outlook e-mail accounts. Clearly this borrower was qualified enough to land a Countrywide mortgage but now they find it “disgusting” that someone in distress is asking for help? The Los Angeles Times is all over this puppy:
“Apparently clicking “reply” when he meant to hit “forward,” Countrywide Financial Corp. Chairman Angelo Mozilo ignited an online furor Tuesday by describing a mortgage customer’s plea for help as a “disgusting” example of form letters inundating the Calabasas home lender.
Mozilo’s e-mail rocketed back to the customer, Daniel Bailey Jr., who had asked Countrywide to modify the terms of his loan so he wouldn’t lose his home of 16 years…
…Bailey and Mozilo couldn’t be reached for comment. Late in the day, the lender issued this statement: “Countrywide and Mr. Mozilo regret any misunderstanding caused by his inadvertent response to an e-mail by Mr. Bailey. Countrywide is actively working to help borrowers, like Mr. Bailey, keep their homes.”
This is another X-factor with the internet that tiny incidents like this can go viral even before the public relations department can devise a strategy to react. You really have to love that response from Countrywide and I bet they regret that “misunderstanding” from this e-mail. My other observation is that Mozilo seems to be rather accessible if he is dealing with e-mails straight from the public.
Let us Remember Enron Tapes
Flaps like this happen all the time. People forget why they teach aspiring shady folks through the movies to use public pay phones and stay off e-mail or anything that is written. You know how we feel about this entire housing market debacle and what has been going on through the decade should be enough evidence to put tons of people away behind bars. Yet sometimes the thing that opens the public flood gates of anger is arrogance. Let us remember those Enron tapes given that it is appropriate with the ever increasing price of energy:
“(CBS) When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports.
“Burn, baby, burn. That’s a beautiful thing,” a trader sang about the massive fire.
Four years after California’s disastrous experiment with energy deregulation, Enron energy traders can be heard – on audiotapes obtained by CBS News – gloating and praising each other as they helped bring on, and cash-in on, the Western power crisis.
“He just f—s California,” says one Enron employee. “He steals money from California to the tune of about a million.”
“Will you rephrase that?” asks a second employee.
“OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day,” replies the first…”
Bwahaha. Oh that is funny! Do you get that humor? The poor masses get screwed and these traders make money. It is like a reverse Robin Hood. They won’t call it screwing you over but they’ll label it arbitrage. Kind of like labeling toxic destructive waste mortgages as Pay Option ARMs. Let us read a little more of what these comedians had to say:
“They’re f——g taking all the money back from you guys?” complains an Enron employee on the tapes. “All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”
“Yeah, grandma Millie, man”
“Yeah, now she wants her f——g money back for all the power you’ve charged right up, jammed right up her a—— for f——g $250 a megawatt hour.”
And the tapes appear to link top Enron officials Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling to schemes that fueled the crisis.
“Government Affairs has to prove how valuable it is to Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling,” says one trader.
Fantastic rhetoric! Falls on the ears like Shakespeare. This is the problem with letting folks run lose like a bunch of drunken sailors. Their actions behind their computer terminals have massive impacts in the real world. They should be punished as such. There is a fantastic hour-long radio show talking about the entire housing debacle over at This American Life. You really need to listen to the entire thing. We have a young college grad in the mortgage industry bragging about his $50,000 to $75,000 a month pay checks while partying with B-list celebrities like Terra Reid and drinking thousand dollar bottles of Kristal. He is now back at home looking to walkaway from his mortgage. Easy come easy go. Let us recall a bit more of those Enron tapes just to remember how corrupt unmitigated gambling can get:
“It’d be great. I’d love to see Ken Lay Secretary of Energy,” says one Enron worker.
That didn’t happen, but they were sure President Bush would fight any limits on sky-high energy prices.
“When this election comes Bush will f——g whack this s–t, man. He won’t play this price-cap b——t.”
Crude, but true.”
And there you have it. Sort of reminds you of when Ameriquest dumped mortgage documents straight into the garbage:
*Click to watch amazing sophisticated mortgage security.
All this courtesy of the folks that brought you the credit and housing bubble. Now that is truly disgusting.
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