Angelo Mozilo is completed being the villain.
Speaking at an unique hedge fund convention in Las Vegas this week, the disgraced former head of Countrywide Financial stated he doesn’t perceive — and doesn’t care to know — why he’s nonetheless being held accountable for the 2008 monetary meltdown, pushed by a collapse in shoddy subprime loans, lots of them bought by Countrywide.
“A lot of years went by, my wife passed away, I turned 80 years old, and now I don’t care,” Mozilo stated, eliciting nervous laughter from the gang gathered on the SALT Conference in Las Vegas.
“There’s other things more important in life,” stated Mozilo, 81, sporting his trademark tan with stiff white-collared shirt.
“Somehow, for some unknown reason, I got blamed for it,” stated Mozilo, who was charged with insider buying and selling and securities fraud in 2009 tied to his Countrywide inventory gross sales and emails detailing considerations concerning the firm’s subprime merchandise at a time when he was publicly touting the inventory.
He settled the case for $67.5 million and accepted a lifetime ban from serving as an officer or director of a public firm, however didn’t admit any wrongdoing.
Mozilo, the son of a butcher within the Bronx, additionally used the SALT stage to face up for Countrywide, which was purchased by Bank of America
in the course of the throes of the crisis — inflicting billions in losses to BofA for years.
At the time, Countrywide was the most important mortgage lender within the U.S. and it had lowered its lending requirements to aggressively supply mortgages to individuals with questionable means to pay them again.
“They didn’t deserve the reputation they were given. Because we were the largest involved, because we were so visible, because I was so visible, we were an easy mark,” Mozilo insisted.
He additionally defended Countrywide’s a lot maligned lending practices, saying the corporate’s decrease requirements allowed it to offer houses to minorities and different teams of individuals shut out of the normal banking business.
But emails between Mozilo and different Countrywide executives main as much as the monetary crisis present that he was privately involved concerning the poor lending requirements.
“In all my years in the business I have never seen a more toxic prduct [sic],” he wrote in 2006 concerning the firm’s 80/20 loans. “In addition, the FICOs are below 600, below 500 and some below 400,” he wrote, referring to the debtors’ credit score scores.
He referred to as one other Countrywide product “the most dangerous product in existence,” saying “there can be nothing more toxic and therefore requires that no deviation from guidelines be permitted irrespective of the circumstances.”
Mozilo, who based Countrywide in 1969, was named by Time Magazine as one of many prime 25 individuals accountable for the monetary crisis, and by CNN as one of many “Ten Most Wanted: Culprits” of the meltdown, which led to hundreds of thousands of individuals being pushed from their houses as housing costs declined.
“He is a friend of mine and I wanted to give him an opportunity to reflect on what happened and tell his side of the story,” stated Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump’s short-lived former press secretary and convention host.