Skip to main content

Bank Of America To Celebrate Only Being Liable For $40 Billion (And Counting!) Worth Of Countrywide Slip-Ups

A couple dozen more of these $1.27 billion wins and this whole thing might not look like the worst business deal in history after all!
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Remember when Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008 and CFC Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozilo said it wouldn't be long before BofA would "reap what Countrywide hath sowed"? And by that he meant write more than $40 billion worth of checks to clean up Countrywide's manifold f*ck-ups? That honor will likely go on from now until eternity* but BofA did get a drop-in-the-bucket worth of a reprieve this afternoon.

A U.S. appeals court on Monday threw out Bank of America's $1.27 billion penalty in a fraud case over defective mortgages, dealing the U.S. Justice Department a major setback in a lawsuit related to the 2008 financial crisis. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the proof at trial was insufficient under federal fraud statutes to establish liability in connection with the "Hustle" mortgage program, which was run at the former Countrywide Financial. The ruling overturns a 2013 jury verdict in a lawsuit by the Justice Department against Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in July 2008, and Rebecca Mairone, a former midlevel Countrywide executive. The jury found the bank liable for Countrywide's sale of shoddy loans originated by its "High Speed Swim Lane" program, also called HSSL or Hustle. The loans were sold to mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Bank of America wins reversal of $1.27 billion penalty in U.S. mortgage case [AP]

*Statute of limitations, Ang Mozilo's ass.


Bank Of America Briefly Considered Unburdening Itself Of The Drunken Mistake That Was Countrywide

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. Long before Sanford Weill suggested last week that big banks should split up, Bank of America executives and directors considered the idea and then decided against it, said people close to the nation's second-biggest bank by assets...Chief Executive Brian Moynihan and his team looked at a possible bankruptcy of Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled mortgage operation it purchased in 2008. Management also studied whether it made sense to break off Merrill Lynch, the securities firm it purchased in 2009. Mr. Moynihan ultimately recommended to his board that neither action made sense. The company decided Merrill had become too big of a profit center and splitting it off could expose the brokerage firm to the sort of funding problems that killed off other Wall Street firms in 2008. Meanwhile, it felt bankruptcy of Countrywide might invite more legal and reputational troubles for Bank of America while exposing other subsidiaries to problems. Bank Breakups, Not So Fast [WSJ]

Bank Of America Wins (Unofficial) Deal-Making Award For Remarkable Achievement

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. Bank of America thought it had a bargain four years ago when it paid $2.5 billion for tottering mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. But the ill-fated decision has already cost the Charlotte, N.C., lender more than $40 billion in real-estate losses, legal expenses and settlements with state and federal agencies, according to people close to the bank. "It is the worst deal in the history of American finance," said Tony Plath, a banking and finance professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "Hands down." Bank Of America's $40 Billion Mistake [WSJ]