Countrywide facing shareholder lawsuit

Directors and officers of Countrywide Financial will have to defend themselves against “shareholder accusations of insider trading and an overall failure to monitor lending practices that led to the company’s collapse” per the New York Times tonight.

Rejecting the arguments of Countrywide executives and directors that they were unaware of lax loan operations that led to ballooning defaults, Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer of Federal District Court in Los Angeles ruled Tuesday that she found confidential witness accounts in the shareholder complaint to be credible and that they suggested “a widespread company culture that encouraged employees to push mortgages through without regard to underwriting standards.

14 thoughts on “Countrywide facing shareholder lawsuit

  1. Wow, this is an interesting development, a shareholder lawsuit to hold some Countrywide executives accountable, THAT is interesting!

    There are some good points in the article about why the court is pursuing the complaint…I hope that the plaintiffs are sucessful in their lawsuit.

  2. There are a lot of interesting things happening in the banking world. You probably already heard it, but the SEC and FASB is trying to change Rule 140 and basically force all loans back on balance sheet. Effectively killing the securitization market.

  3. Q-diddy,

    Can you help me out: Where do the loans show now on a corporation’s balance sheet?

    What about fannie and freddie; since they’re government-sponsored entities that do basically nothing but loans, do they get special rules that are different from banks?


  4. Hi Debra,

    I wonder what their (countrywide’s board of directors) defense will be? “We didn’t know…”

    The judge in this case seems to think that there’s enough evidence to the contrary to let the case move forward.

  5. Hi Jillayne,

    Well, they could try that as a defense, but that certainly would make them look to be not very competent leaders to testify that they “did not know”. Of course they knew, it was corporate wide and as leaders they set the tone for their company’s business practices.

    These are educated, experienced business people who made bad, and perhaps criminal decisions as leaders and as such should suffer the consequences of those decisions. This will be interesting to follow.

  6. Jillayne,

    Well if this isn’t just one more lump of sugar to the cup for BOA. 🙂 I wonder if this and 30 some billion in liabilities that BOA wants to walk away from has anything to do with the rumors that BOA might get out of the Countrywide deal?

  7. Hi Shane,

    Well, BOA wrote themselves a big giant way out of the deal. I believe way back when, BOA said that if market conditions change dramatically, they reserve their right to revise the deal.

    I’ve been skeptical from the beginning, however, maybe it’s not an either/or. Instead of walking away from CWide, maybe BOA will renegotiate.

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