Countrywide – an appropriate name

fake_george_hamilton.png Angelo Mozilo (aka fake George Hamilton) who runs Countrywide couldn’t have picked a better name for his company which he founded in 1967 with David Loeb. Why? because the impending collapse of the subprime market (which will happen) is being felt country wide. And, in reality it’s being felt around the world, Bank of China on Friday announced it has a USD 10 billion exposure to subprimes.

I was expecting the LA Times to run with the Countrywide story and have some insight since the company is located in its backyard, but no luck. Instead the best piece so far on the inner workings of Countrywide comes from the NY Times. It shows Countrywide was one massive boiler room operation focused on a part of the credit markets that were considered boring.

What is really laughable is an article from USA Today talking about the best stocks from the past 25 years. Oh yes, Countrywide makes the list at number 12 and the best part is the description of the company:
“This leading mortgage lender provided the fuel for the home-buying boom, which in turn was a boon for it’s bottom line. Its focus on first-time buyers with pristine credit has limited collateral damage from exposure to subprime lending.”

That statement makes about as much sense as saying “focusing on first time mothers who are virgins.”

USA Today PDF article (pdf, 1 page, 56kb)

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