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Countrywide's Press Release: What Caught My Eye

You've heard about Countrywide's $422 million loss, and you've probably heard that Bank of America says the deal is still "a go." Yes, loan production is way down, credit loss provisions are way up. But even though Countrywide did not hold a conference call, its full earnings release is littered with telling details about the state of the housing market.

You can read the whole thing here.

Here are just a few tidbits which caught my eye:

$2.9 billion in "non-performing loans"--this includes $1.6 billion in loans that don't have mortgage insurance. That number has risen more than five-fold in a year.

34 percent of subprime loans are delinquent--half of those are more than 90 days late. That's 60 percent higher than a year ago.

Nearly $400 million in foreclosed real estate--Countrywide has been forced to take ownership of many foreclosed homes, saying that real estate is now worth $395 million. Given that the national median home price for an existing home is $208,000, this could mean Countrywide owns about 1,900 homes.

$8.8 billion dollars in cash--a 526 percent jump from a year ago.

Dividends--It's maintaining a $.15 a share dividend, But for the special class of shares Bank of America got for injecting $2 billion into the company last August, THAT dividend has more than doubled, to $1,812.50 a share, payable on February 15th. BofA got 20,000 of these shares, which would mean a dividend of $36 million by my math. Of course, the bank has lost most of that $2 billion investment.

$172 million in insurance profits for the quarter--$76 million of that is from mortgage insurance (up 36 percent in a year). Countrywide often insures a piece of the mortgages it sells, and mortgage insurance is coming back in a big way.

$11 million in mortgage fees--the company doubled the amount of money made on service fees for things like title reports and appraisals.

$84 million in advertising and promotion--Countrywide is spending 27 percent MORE on advertising now than a year ago (if you've watched CNBC you know what I mean). $84 million could buy you 30 Super Bowl ads.

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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