Who’s Behind the Financial Meltdown?

Published — May 6, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

No. 1 of The Subprime 25: Countrywide Financial Corp.


Total high-interest loans 2005-2007:

At least $97.2 billion

Federal bailout money received:

None. Countrywide’s new owner, Bank of America, has been given government protection against losses on $118 billion in assets and has received $45 billion in federal assistance.

Company overview

  • Status: SOLD. Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America. The “Countrywide” brand is being retired.
  • History: Since its founding, Countrywide grew to be one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. When the housing bubble burst, Countrywide was among the first to feel the pain. In 2007, losses prompted the lender to draw down an $11.5 billion line of credit, which raised concerns about the stability of the entire U.S. housing market. Mozilo, after leading Countrywide for 39 years, resigned in June 2008. Bank of America bought Countrywide for $4 billion in July 2008.
  • Parent/subsidiary companies: Full Spectrum Lending, subprime lending subsidiary. Bank of America bought Countrywide in July 2008.
  • CEO: Founder/CEO: Angelo R. Mozilo
    • Most recent salary: 2006 — $2,866,667 salary; $48,133,155 total compensation
  • Location: Calabasas, California
  • Year founded: 1969
  • Backers: Countrywide relied on credit agreements with a variety of parties, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citicorp USA, Royal Bank of Canada, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank.

Lobbying overview

  • Lobbying: 1999-2008: Countrywide reported $9,274,588 in lobbying expenses. **
  • Total Contributions: At least $1,277,937 *
  • Top Recipients:
    1. Mortgage Bankers Association PAC $50,000
    2. National Republican Congressional Committee $41,000
    3. Represenative Ed Royce, R-California $37,500
    4.Representative Spencer Bachus, R-Alabama $27,000
    5. Financial Services Roundtable PAC $25,000


  • Settlements: In 2008, the company agreed to provide more than $8.6 billion of home loan and foreclosure relief after being sued by 11 states for predatory lending practices. The settlement was reached after Bank of America acquired the lender, but was related to Countrywide loans.

** Lobbying totals calculated by the Center for Public Integrity using data from the Senate Office of Public Records.

* Contribution grand total includes employee and soft money contributions from the lender and its subsidiaries. Top recipient totals include employee and political action committee contributions. Data provided by CQ Money Line, analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

Read more in Inequality, Opportunity and Poverty

Share this article

Join the conversation

Show Comments

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments