Friday, October 12, 2007

Countrywide boycotted

A community advocacy organization called NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America) announced a nationwide boycott of Countrywide Financial, beginning Thursday October 11. The campaign aims to “get Countrywide to change its practices or be shut down”, according to NACA’s website. This is a new one. I generally dislike anything this radical and “activist”, but at least it’s a vivid illustration of the public opinion. But this is not the only piece of exciting news surrounding the mortgage lender.

Countrywide’s total mortgage fundings fell 44% in September compared to the same month a year ago, according to its monthly operating report. Subprime originations totaled $255 million last month, down from $3.1 billion in September 2006. The lender also cut nearly 5,000 jobs in September, leaving it with 55,932 employees.

It was also announced that North Carolina’s state treasurer Richard Moore has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate changes Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo has made to his stock-selling plan earlier this year. Mozilo made changes to his 10b5-1 plan and unloaded stocks shortly before bad news sent shares tumbling down, thus selling stock when it was priced highest.

Now that Countrywide’s “Protect Our House” PR Campaign has officially kicked off, there’s significant demand for those green wristbands from collectors and members of the mortgage industry, so at least one Countrywide employee is selling his on eBay. The most interesting part of this is, the employee in question says he only wanted to generate cash, not make fun of his company. Fine, what the public liked most is the fact that it says “made in China” on the inside.

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