A Credit to The Wall Street Journal for exposing the existence of Countrywide’s special loan program for politicians.
Countrywide Financial Corp. makes mortgage loans through a vast network of offices, brokers and call centers. But a few customers have gotten their loans a special way: through Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.
These borrowers, known internally as ‘friends of Angelo’ or FoA, include two former CEOs of Fannie Mae, the biggest buyer of Countrywide’s mortgages, say people familiar with the matter.
James Johnson, a former Fannie chief, resigned as Barack Obama’s vice-president finder in the wake of this report.
A Credit goes to Portfolio, as well, for pushing the story forward on its Web site with news that a variety of government officials received Countrywide loans on more favorable terms than those reserved for the ordinary borrower.
Senators Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide’s ‘V.I.P.’ program in 2003 and 2004, according to company documents and emails and a former employee familiar with the loans.
Other participants in the V.I.P. program included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke.