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Countrywide collusion-Fannie-BOA, the wheels of the housing-market collapse were greased, democrats benefit including NY’s Ed Towns who like Dodd is now conveniently retiring, what a disgrace, skirting federal bribery statutes, yet still no handcuffs for anyone!

July 10, 2012

Countrywide collusion

NY Post Last Updated:          11:36 PM, July 5,  2012

A new report laying out how the nation’s then-largest issuer of subprime  mortgages bought improper influence with hundreds of Capitol Hill VIPs landed  yesterday — demonstrating in depressing detail how the skids to America’s 2008  housing-market collapse were greased.

But don’t count on seeing anyone marched off in handcuffs: No laws were  broken, according to the 130-page document — issued by the House  Oversight Committee after years of Democratic stonewalling. Well, of course no laws were broken: Washington writes  them, after all.

This scheme proceeded hand-in-glove with the mortgage giant Fannie Mae — to  both sides’ benefit. Here’s how it worked.

AP-Sen. Chris Dodd
Countrywide was at one time the nation’s largest issuer of subprime  mortgages; its collapse helped touch off the 2008 economic crisis.

And fully 90 percent of those loans were bought and/or backed by Fannie  Mae.

Which means that the two outfits — one private, one public — were dependent  on each other for continued financial success.

Issa’s committee found that Countrywide gave low-cost loans to strategically  placed members of Congress, congressional staffers, Cabinet secretaries and — especially — Fannie Mae execs.

Many were personally arranged by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo under a “Friends of Angelo” program to people like successive Senate Banking Committee  Chairmen Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (D-ND).

Another “Friend” was former House Oversight Committee Chairman Ed Towns  (D-Brooklyn) — who got a cut-rate mortgage from Countrywide for a Florida  home.

The loan program, Issa found, “was a tool used by Countrywide to build  goodwill with lawmakers and other individuals positioned to benefit the  company.”

So why isn’t anyone likely to wind up inside a prison cell? Because there  weren’t any explicit quid pro quos in return for the loans — and  because “conversations about discounts and other forms of preferential treatment  [were kept] internal.”

So they only “skirted the federal bribery statutes” to “cast a wide net of  influence.”

Indeed, both the Senate and House Ethics Committees investigated — and found  no grounds for as much as a reprimand.

Well, why would they? Again, they were investigating their own.

Washington has long done business this way — and still, in large measure,  does.

What a disgrace.

Brooklyn Rep. Edolphus Towns treated to VIP mortgage rates: House  report

By ANDY SOLTIS July 6, 2012

Despite his repeated denials, Brooklyn Rep. Edolphus Towns got two sweetheart  loans from a now-defunct mortgage giant, a congressional report said  yesterday.In less than a month in 2003, Towns got a $182,972 mortgage on a vacation  home in Lutz, Fla., and a $194,540 mortgage on his Cypress Hills, Brooklyn,  residence, both from Countrywide Financial Corp.The report from the House Oversight Committee didn’t say how much Towns saved  by getting the loans through Countrywide’s VIP Loan Unit.

But it said the standard savings for VIPs was 0.5 percent and the waiving of  so-called junk fees of $350 to $400. Over the course of a 30-year loan, a  typical homeowner with a half-point higher rate would pay thousands of dollars  more than Towns and other VIPs.

TOWNS HOUSE: Brooklyn Congressman Edolphus Towns got a discount mortgage rate on his Cypress Hills house (above) from Countrywide.

Gregory P. Mango-TOWNS HOUSE: Brooklyn Congressman Edolphus Towns got a  discount mortgage rate on his Cypress Hills house (above) from  Countrywide.
TOWNS HOUSE: Brooklyn Congressman Edolphus Towns got a discount mortgage rate on his Cypress Hills house from Countrywide.

TOWNS HOUSE: Brooklyn Congressman  Edolphus Towns got a discount mortgage rate on his Cypress Hills house from  Countrywide.

Towns was among eight former and current congressmen, senators and Cabinet  secretaries — and hundreds of others — who received discounted loans in a bold  bid by Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender and a specialist in  subprime loans, to buy influence, the report said.

Towns, who is retiring from Congress after 30 years, continued to deny he was  treated specially by Countrywide.

“He did not knowingly benefit from this program,” said Towns’ spokesman  Charles Lewis. “He was not aware that he was in [the VIP Loan] program.”

“He feels that the mortgage rate [he received] was the fair market rate,” Lewis added

But documents acquired by the oversight committee — which Towns once chaired — show Countrywide was well aware of whom he was.

Towns identified his employer as “US Capital” on both loan applications. But  in the “customer name” line of one Countrywide document, “CONGRESSMAN” was added  in large letters.

Also, a Countrywide account executive who spoke with Towns told the “VIP  processing team” in an e-mail that the congressman’s credit score might be an  issue.

No, replied another Countrywide official, “The credit shouldn’t be a problem  . . . Also, this is a congressman, we must get his 3-day package out on  time.”

The VIP unit gave out sweetheart loans from 1996 until 2008, when the unit’s  existence was revealed in news articles.

Some of the discounts, to Washington heavyweights like then-Senate Banking  Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), were personally approved by Countrywide  CEO Angelo Mozilo. Recipients of discounted loans were known inside Countrywide  as “Friends of Angelo.”

The oversight committee report said Towns issued a subpoena in 2009 — only  after “several months of resistance” — to Bank of America, which had acquired  Countrywide.

The new report caps a three-year investigation and stops short of calling for  the Justice Department to look into criminal violations.

Additional reporting by S.A. Millerin Washington


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