Countrywide financial political loan scandal
In June 2008, Conde Nast Portfolio reported that several influential lawmakers and politicians, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, and Fannie Mae former CEO Jim Johnson, received favorable mortgage financing from Countrywide by virtue of being "Friends of Angelo Mozilo."
Senator Dodd received a $75,000 reduction in mortgage payments from Countrywide at allegedly below-market rates on his Washington, D.C. and Connecticut homes. Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story shows on film that this was actually over a million dollars of a sweet-heart mortgage deal. Dodd nonetheless called for stronger regulation of mortgage lenders and proposed that predatory lenders should face criminal charges.
Clinton Jones III, senior counsel of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, and "an adviser to ranking Republican members of Congress responsible for legislation of interest to the financial services industry and of importance to Countrywide." was given special treatment. Jones is now state director for federal residential-mortgage bundler Freddie Mac. Alphonso Jackson, acting secretary of HUD at the time and long time friend and Texas neighbor of President Bush, received a discounted mortgage for himself and sought one for his daughter. "In 2003, using V.I.P. loans for nearly $1 million apiece, Franklin Raines, Fannie Maeâ€™s chairman and C.E.O. from 1999 to 2004, twice refinanced his seven-bedroom home, which has a pool and movie theater."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's son, Paul Pelosi, Jr., also received a loan with Countrywide. Barbara Boxer, Adam H. Putnam, Richard C. Holbrooke, James E. Clyburn, and Donna Shalala are also among those with mortgages from Countrywide.
CBS News has obtained the following list of then-Fannie Mae employees whose names have been turned over to investigators as having received VIP loans from Countrywide:
Sandra Adams: Fannie Mae Account Associate
Nitirwork Armstrong: Fannie Mae Director
Gregg Ayres: Fannie Mae Customer Acct Manager
Jeffrey Baker: Fannie Mae Business Analyst
Ingrid Beckles: Freddie Mac VP Default Mgmt
Cherry Billings: Fannie Mae Asst to CEO
Christine Buckley: Fannie Mae Sr Assistant
Sharon Canavan: Fannie Mae Govt Relations/Lobbyist
Delynn Conley: Fannie Mae Underwriter
Carla Corpuz: Fannie Mae Senior Underwriter
Tanguy De Carbonnieres: Fannie Mae Legal Counsel
Bernard Deane: Fannie Mae Director
Mollie Dougherty: Fannie Mae Sr Business Manager
Roy Downey: Fannie Mae Director
Cynthia Fatica: Fannie Mae Legal Counsel
Jamie Gorelick: Fannie Mae Vice Chair
Lizbeth Grant: Fannie Mae Director Tec/Secondary Mkt
Greta Hamilton: Fannie Mae Manager/Home Loans
Lester Handy: Fannie Mae Consultant
James Johnson: Fannie Mae Chairman and CEO
Jack King: Fannie Mae Manager
Karen King: Fannie Mae Credit Risk manager
Gerald Langbauer: Freddie Mac VP Sales
Derek Lowe: Fannie Mae Technician/Home Loans
Mary Lee Moriarity: Fannie Mae Sr Underwriter Consult/Lending
Daniel Mudd: Fannie Mae Vice Chair and COO
Paulette Porter: Fannie Mae Sr Proj Mgr/Mtg Securities
Alan Quirion: Freddie Mac Director
John Radwanski: Freddie Mac Sr Port Director
Franklin Raines: Fannie Mae Chairman and CEO
Robin Ramsay: Fannie Mae Customer Acct Manager
Rebecca Rosena: Fannie Mae Credit Risk manager
Irwin Rosenstein: Fannie Mae Ass. General Counsel
Robert Sanborn: Fannie Mae Vice President
William Shirreffs: Fannie Mae Director
Joseph Silva: Fannie Mae Servicing Portfolio Manager
Donna Simpson: Fannie Mae Customer Acct Manager
Michelle Sorensen: Fannie Mae Sr Business An/Mortgage
Mary Ann Staley: Fannie Mae Marketing Dir
Deborah Kay: Tretler Fannie Mae VP Risk Management
Kirk Willison: Freddie Mac VP Trade Relations/Dir Industry Relations
David Yoon: Fannie Mae Acct Associate
Shortly after University of San Diego invited Mozilo to be the keynote speaker at a conference for "sustainable real estate," DisinviteMozilo.com was created in protest on January 10, 2008. Mozilo pulled out six days later. Shortly after that, Congress invited Mozilo to testify about his compensation.
In May 2008, Mozilo made the news by accidentally hitting "reply" instead of "forward" in response to an e-mail from a distressed homeowner named Daniel Bailey of North Carolina. Mr. Bailey had created a hardship letter to request a loan modification from Mr. Mozilo on a website forum named LoanSafe.org. Mr. Bailey then sent his request directly to the Office of the President of Countrywide and this was Angelo Mozilo's reply.
"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."
 Settlement with SEC
On Friday October 15, 2010, Mozilo reached a settlement with Securities and Exchange Commission, over securities fraud and insider trading charges. Mozilo agreed to pay $67.5 million in fines and accepted a lifetime ban from serving as an officer or director of any public company, it is the largest settlement by an individual or executive connected to the 2008 housing collapse. Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement that "Mozilo's record penalty is the fitting outcome for a corporate executive who deliberately disregarded his duties to investors by concealing what he saw from inside the executive suite." By settling the SEC charges, Mozilo will avoid a trial that could have provided fodder for future criminal charges. 
This fine represents a small fraction of Mozilo's estimated net worth of $600 million. Countrywide will pay $20 million of the $67.5 million penalty because of an indemnification agreement that was part of Mozillo's employment contract. The terms of the settlement allow Mr. Mozilo to avoid acknowledging any wrongdoing.
In February 2011, the U.S. dropped its criminal investigation into the facts behind that civil settlement.
Angelo R. Mozilo (born 1938) was the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial until July 1, 2008. CondÃ© Nast Portfolio ranked Mozilo second on their list of "Worst American CEOs of All Time".
Mozilo was born in New York City, the son of a Bronx butcher. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University in 1960. In 1969, he and his former mentor David S. Loeb, who had already started a mortgage lending company, founded Countrywide Credit Industries in New York. They later moved the headquarters to Pasadena, California and then to Calabasas, California in Los Angeles County. Mozilo and Loeb also cofounded IndyMac Bank, which was founded as Countrywide Mortgage Investment, before being spun off as an independent bank in 1997. IndyMac collapsed and was seized by federal regulators on July 11, 2008.
Since Countrywide was listed on the NYSE in 1984, Mozilo has sold $406 million worth of its stock, mostly obtained through stock option grants. $129 million of this was realized in the 12 months ending August 2007.
In the beginning, Countrywide was a pioneer in the nation-wide non-bank mortgage industry. Mozilo was very concerned with the credit quality of borrowers and the quality of loans. When subprime came onto the scene in the late 80s (Guardian S&L) and 90s (The Money Store), his company did not participate. He privately described the subprime loan mavericks of the 1990s as 'crooks'. However, his company began to lose business to the subprime lenders. He had to compete with them, or keep losing market share. Thus, by the early 2000s, Countrywide had entered subprime, for real. 
Perhaps more than any single individual, Mozilo has come to symbolize, and bear the blame for, the subprime mortgage crisis. In a New York Times feature on October 20, 2008, Henry G. Cisneros, former secretary of HUD and member of the Countrywide board of directors, describes Mr. Mozilo as â€œsick with stress â€” the final chapter of his life is the infamy thatâ€™s been brought on him, or that he brought on himself.â€ CNN named Mozilo as one of the "Ten Most Wanted: Culprits" of the 2008 financial collapse in the United States.
Mozilo's compensation during the United States housing bubble of 2001â€“06 has come under scrutiny. During that period, his total compensation (including salary, bonuses, options and restricted stock) approached $470 million.
His compensation also includes payment of his annual country club dues at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, CA, The Quarry at La Quinta golf club in La Quinta, CA and Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, VA.
Mozilo testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 7, 2008, calling reports of their pay "grossly exaggerated" in some instances and pointing out that they lost millions as well. He defended the pay: The compensation was a function of how the company did ahead of the mortgage crisis.
 SEC accusation regarding insider sales
Over many years, Mozilo sold hundreds of millions of dollars in stock personally, even while publicly touting the stock and using shareholder funds to buy back stock to support the share price. On June 4, 2009, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged former CEO Angelo Mozilo with insider trading and securities fraud.
The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA; OTCBB: FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. It was set up as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), but it converted into a publicly traded company in 1968. The corporation's purpose is to expand the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages in the form of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), allowing lenders to reinvest their assets into more lending and in effect increasing the number of lenders in the mortgage market by reducing the reliance on thrifts.
On July 11, 2008, the New York Times reported that U.S. government officials were considering a plan for the U.S. government to take over Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac should their financial situations worsen due to the U.S. housing crisis. Fannie Mae and smaller Freddie Mac own or guarantee a massive proportion of all home loans in the United States and so were especially hard hit by the slump. The government officials also stated that the government had also considered calling for explicit government guarantee through legislation of $5 trillion on debt owned or guaranteed by the two companies.
Fannie stock plunged. Some worried that Fannie lacked capital and might go bankrupt. Others worried about a government seizure. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson as well as the White House went on the air to defend the financial soundness of Fannie Mae, in a last ditch effort to prevent a total financial panic. Fannie and Freddie underpinned the whole U.S. mortgage market. As recently as 2008, Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) had owned or guaranteed about half of the U.S.'s $12 trillion mortgage market. If they were to collapse, mortgages would be harder to obtain and much more expensive. Fannie and Freddie bonds were owned by everyone from the Chinese Government, to Money Market funds, to the retirement funds of hundreds of millions of people. If they went bankrupt, all those investments would go to 0, and there would be mass upheaval on a global scale.
The Administration PR effort was not enough, by itself, to save the GSEs. Their investments were simply too rotten, their managements had been too incompetent, and the market was tanking too quickly. Paulson knew that Lehman Brothers and other banks were in trouble and would soon require his attention; this meant that he would not have the staff or the time to deal with a long, drawn out Fannie and Freddie conflict. Paulson's plan was to go in swiftly and seize the two GSEs; he told president Bush that "the first sound they hear will be their heads hitting the floor".
On September 7, 2008, James Lockhart, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being placed into conservatorship of the FHFA. The action was "one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades". Lockhart also dismissed the firms' chief executive officers and boards of directors, and caused the issuance to the Treasury new senior preferred stock and common stock warrants amounting to 79.9% of each GSE. The value of the common stock and preferred stock to pre-conservatorship holders was greatly diminished by the suspension of future dividends on previously outstanding stock, in the effort to maintain the value of company debt and of mortgage-backed securities. FHFA stated that there are no plans to liquidate the company. 
The authority of the U.S. Treasury to advance funds for the purpose of stabilizing Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac is limited only by the amount of debt that the entire federal government is permitted by law to commit to. The July 30, 2008 law enabling expanded regulatory authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased the national debt ceiling US$ 800 billion, to a total of US$ 10.7 Trillion in anticipation of the potential need for the Treasury to have the flexibility to support the federal home loan banks.
 2010 - Delisting
On June 16, 2010, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced their stocks would be delisted from the NYSE. The Federal Housing Finance Agency directed the delisting after Fannie's stock traded below $1 a share for over 30 days. Their stocks will continue to trade on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board as long as there is trader interest. Reports from the finance agency specified that the delisting had nothing to do with current or future company performance.
All the Devils are Here
In All The Devils Are Here, Bethany McClean and Joe Nocera paint an interesting portrait of the GSEs, including Fannie. Fannie had been aggressive in it's political fights with Wall Street and Congress in the 1980s. In the 1990s Fannie ramped up the 'cut them off at the knees' strategy against political enemies. Tactics included a massive lobbying effort, neutering the OFHEO (it's 1992-created regulator), creating a "partnership office" network to court the politically powerful with pork, giving high level employment to the well connected, giving out campaign contributions, creating a charity foundation, and threatning critics like FM Watch with retaliation. One of McClean & Nocera's sources even compared Fannie's activities to Tammany Hall.
McClean and Nocera also claim that Fannie 'gamed' it's affordable housing numbers, with a process that was referred to internally as "stupid pet tricks". The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, and studies by the Department of Housing and Urban Development all found the GSEs lacking in their actual, real support of affordable housing.
 Accounting controversy
In late 2004, Fannie Mae was under investigation for its accounting practices. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight released a report on September 20, 2004, alleging widespread accounting errors.
Fannie Mae was expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2006 alone to complete its internal audit and bring it closer to compliance. The necessary restatement was expected to cost $10.8 billion, but was completed at a total cost of $6.3 billion in restated earnings as listed in Fannie Mae's Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Concerns with business and accounting practices at Fannie Mae predate the scandal itself. On June 15, 2000, the House Banking Subcommittee On Capital Markets, Securities And Government-Sponsored Enterprises held hearings on Fannie Mae.
On December 18, 2006, U.S. regulators filed 101 civil charges against chief executive Franklin Raines; chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard; and the former controller Leanne G. Spencer. The three are accused of manipulating Fannie Mae earnings to maximize their bonuses. The lawsuit sought to recoup more than $115 million in bonus payments, collectively accrued by the trio from 1998â€“2004, and about $100 million in penalties for their involvement in the accounting scandal.
 Conflict of interest
Further information: Countrywide financial political loan scandal
Further information: Friends of Angelo program
In June 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that two former CEOs of Fannie Mae, James A. Johnson and Franklin Raines had received loans below market rate from Countrywide Financial. Fannie Mae was the biggest buyer of Countrywide's mortgages. The "Friends of Angelo" VIP Countrywide loan program included many people from Fannie Mae; lawyers, executives, etc.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have given contributions to lawmakers currently sitting on committees that primarily regulate their industry: The House Financial Services Committee; the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee; or the Senate Finance Committee. The others have seats on the powerful Appropriations or Ways & Means committees, are members of the congressional leadership or have run for president.