Angelo Mozilo

In June 2008, at the last Countrywide shareholder meeting after the company had been bought by Bank of America, founder Angelo Mozilo made a bold statement, telling those assembled, “[Bank of America] will reap the benefits of what we have sowed.” While one might quibble over the definition of the word “benefit,” the bank was unquestionably on the reaping end of what Mozilo and Co had sowed, namely a lot of predatory lending and mortgage messiness that ultimately grew and blossomed into approximately $71 billion worth of fines and BofA CEO Brian Moynihan’s near-nervous breakdown. Though mum when Bank of America was writing checks to resolve issues it inherited from CFC, Mozilo did deign to pick up the phone and chat with Bloomberg last week, following the news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles intends to sue him over the not-so-great job he did. And thank god he did, because there is a lot we needed to be filled in on re: what Ang has been doing/thinking/feeling these last 6 years.

  • Like, his plans to build an old-timey Western town: “…a project in Templeton, a small Southern California town where he’s requested permits to build a two-story retail and office building on a vacant lot. Architectural sketches show a style suited for a quaint Western main street. ‘It’s a throwback to a century ago,’ Mozilo said. ‘I love America. I love everything about America.’”
  • His belief in, if not consumption of, Taco Bell: “One investment is a stake in a building that houses a Taco Bell outside Phoenix. Mozilo said he hasn’t eaten there because he stays away from chicken and beef.
  • His work giving the next generation a crash course in Finance 101: Mozilo Style: “Mozilo decided to teach undergraduates what he knows about finance last year. The former trustee of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, said he spent about two weeks in Italy at Gonzaga-in-Florence, housed in the Mozilo Center overlooking a 16th-century Medici garden. ‘I taught them the basics of finance based on my own experiences,’ he said. ‘I really enjoyed being among them. It was very refreshing for me.’”

The most interesting development, however, is probably his newfound penchant for speaking in the third person when denying any and all blame re: what went down at Countrywide. In short, Mozilo thinks those pointing fingers should go home and take a good look in the mirror. Read more »

June 29, 2009: Countrywide Chairman and CEO Angelo Mozilo utters greatest veiled threat ever when he tells CFC shareholders at their final meeting that Bank of America “will reap the benefits of what we have sowed.”

October 25, 2012: Analysts estimate the benefits of acquiring Countrywide have so far cost Bank of America $40+ billion in “write-downs, legal expenses, and settlements.”

October 8, 2013: Still reaping: Read more »

Countrywide is both an albatross and a boon for Brian Moynihan. Sure, it’s the reason for all of Bank of America’s troubles, but it’s also really convenient to have such a reason.

This, however, is less convenient: Read more »

Time was, Bank of America loved buying companies. Bonus points if there was a not-so-subtle suggestion by the target’s CEO that BofA would one day be very sorry for doing so, or that they would’ve been better off picking up an asbestos manufacturer, or that they were looking at roughly $40 billion (and counting) in legal fees associated with fuck-ups that were to become Bank of America’s problem, or that they would have night terrors for the rest of their lives about signing those papers. As it’s been a while since BofA went shopping, some in the financial services industry have been wondering if we can expect any announcements re: big deals anytime soon or if Ken Lewis’s unsolicited suggestions (Groupon, Sino Forest, The Thirsty Beaver, and most recently: “a P&C insurer with outsized exposure to the Northeast”) are or have ever been under consideration. Read more »

And then decided that sticking with the “worst deal in the history of American finance,” which has cost it $40 billion in cleanup so far, made them at least look like responsible adults, facing the consequences of their actions, rather than deadbeats trying to take the easy way out. Read more »

Remember when Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008 and CFC Chief Executive Officer/Oracle Angelo Mozilo said they wouldn’t be sorry and it wouldn’t be long before BofA would “reap what Countrywide hath sowed“? He wasn’t kidding and now, finally, BAC and Ken Lewis, the guy who had the foresight to do the deal, are having their vision and skills recognized. Read more »

Remember, back in ’08, when Angelo Mozilo cried while telling a bunch of Countrywide shareholders that Bank of America, which had just bought the place, would “reap the benefits of what we have sowed“? Obviously that was was Moz-Speak for “you’re about to find out what it’s like to be forcibly sodomized for all eternity,” but at the time, some people wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was leaving some neat stuff behind, like buried treasure or something. We now know that, actually, one of the things that the home lender had been “sowing” for a number of years was the basis of a Department of Justice investigation into the fact that the company made it a policy to dick over Hispanic and black people, one of the many gifts Brian Moynihan has been unwrapping since he took over. Read more »