The very idea of blogging this story makes my stomach churn, but there are some things I am simply morally required to do. So here goes.
You’ve done it, and I’ve done it, and now Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo has done it. He hit “reply” instead of “forward” on the computer. For most of us, the mistake usually results in a “DOH!” and perhaps and explanation and/or apology, but Mozilo’s is now resulting in an online slam-fest.
Why? Because Mozilo proved what so many were thinking, that he doesn’t have a whole lot of compassion for a whole lot of his customers, especially the ones in trouble.
According to the L.A. Times, one of those customers, Daniel Bailey Jr., wrote an email to Countrywide asking that the terms of his loan be modified. Like so many others, his adjustable rate loan reset, and now he can’t make the payments.
Countrywide has been publicly begging for troubled borrowers to contact them. In fact, I’ve sat through several press conferences at the Treasury Department (touting the Hope Now alliance), where some Countrywide rep says the biggest problem they have is that they can’t reach all the troubled borrowers in order to help them.
Okay, so Mr. Bailey sends the email, but he uses a form letter that you can get from a website called LoanSafe.org. He says he needed help with the wording. Anyway, the email goes out to about 20 Countrywide addresses, including Mozilo’s.
Mozilo, who has gotten tons and tons of these, writes, “This is unbelievable. Most of these letters now have the same wording. Obviously they are being counseled by some other person or by the Internet. Disgusting.”
He meant to send it to someone else, but oops, that darned “reply” button. Mr. Bailey, of course outraged at the reply, then posts it on LoanSafe.org.
Scandal! Now the web is awash with all kinds of criticisms being hurled here and there (and not all of it against Mozilo). Countrywide ends up issuing a statement: “Countrywide and Mr. Mozilo regret any misunderstanding caused by his inadvertent response to an e-mail by Mr. Bailey. Countrywide is actively working to help borrowers, like Mr. Bailey, keep their homes.”
Now I get all kinds of news releases from Countrywide spammed at me ad nauseum. I didn’t get that one.
Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com