Think hard for a minute. Who would you suspect most likely to profit from salvaging toxic mortgage sludge? How about the guys from Countrywide? Yeah, those guys. Countrywide's former President, Stanford L. Kurland (what is it with guys named Stanford?) second chair to his bronzeness, have been buying up the refuse left behind by a number of banks under the auspices of "PennyMac." (No, we aren't kidding).
Of course, we like the prospect of private salvage crews working through the rubble to pull out the occasional only-slightly-dented toaster. And hey, Kurland had to go somewhere, right?
Mr. Kurland has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from big players like BlackRock, the investment manager, to finance his start-up. Having sold off close to $200 million in stock before leaving Countrywide, he has also put up some of his own cash.
While some critics are distressed that Mr. Kurland and his team are back in business, the executives say that PennyMac's operations serve as a model for how the government, working with banks, can help stabilize the housing market and lead the nation out of the recession. "It is very important to the entire team here to be part of a solution," Mr. Kurland said, standing in his office, which has views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Must be nice.
Ex-Leaders of Countrywide Profit From Bad Loans [The New York Times]