Funny Business with Jane Wells

Countrywide's Sambol No Longer On The New Team

Eric Grigorian

When Bank of America announced plans to take over Countrywide in January, CEO Ken Lewis made a point of saying how the people at Countrywide knew the mortgage business inside and out, and he intended to keep some top executives, though not co-founder and CEO Angelo Mozilo.

Among those staying, President and COO David Sambol, who would lead the entire mortgage business for BofA once the merger was complete. Sambol was given a retention bonus of $1.9 million and 335,126 restricted stock units by Countrywidein January, and then in March, Bank of America agreed to set up a $20 million retention account for him, plus $8 million in restricted stock. Things just kept looking better.

That was then.

Bank of America is now saying Sambol will not stay on. The bank is opting for Barbara Desoer, someone with "deep roots in the Bank of America culture," according to Dow Jones.

The newly combined mortgage business will still be based at Countrywide's Calabasas headquarters, but, like Mozilo, Sambol won't be there. He's come under fire for whatever role he may have played in the mortgage mess. Perhaps Sambol became Mozilo 2.0 for BofA, a lightning rod it could ill afford to keep.

Sambol could always use whatever severance he's getting to join the firm started by another Countrywide COO, Stanford Kurland. That firm, Private National Mortgage Acceptance, aka PennyMac,hopes to buy distressed mortgages off lenders. It's website says, "Our strategy is to keep borrowers in their homes by avoiding foreclosures through programs that address both their ability and willingness to pay their mortgages."

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