Realty Check

Countrywide: No Remorse, Just Still Living The High Life

There’s something called remorse. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Clearly Countrywide Financial is not in touch with that emotion right now.

While many Americans are struggling to pay mortgages they never should have been offered or are staring down the face of foreclosure--and while many Countrywide stockholders are staring at holdings that are worth 1/5th of what they were a year ago--and while 11,400 former Countrywide employees are trolling the want-ads, Countrywide execs are going skiing.

Yep, that’s right. Next week Countrywide will “host about 30 representatives of smaller mortgage banks for three nights at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch ski resort in Avon, CO,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The meeting, billed as the “2008 Advisory Council”, includes dinner at Spago, hotel rooms, ski rentals, lift tickets and of course cocktails. There are two four-hour business meetings, followed by skiing and dinner at “Zach’s Cabin, where diners arrive by sled.”

Clearly I’m in the wrong business. The DC bureau of CNBC is having a belated Christmas party tonight. We’re going bowling downtown. And our company made money this year! I realize that the folks at Countrywide don’t see themselves as the least bit to blame for any of the troubles in the subprime mortgage market and the greater credit markets. Maybe they shouldn’t.

Nobody HAD to buy its mortgages. But given the company’s current situation, being sold off to Bank of America , and the stock price and the poor earnings and the high foreclosure rate, well maybe this year they could have held the big meeting at a Cleveland Ramada or something. They usually have great mozzarella sticks.

Questions?  Comments?