It costs money to make money

Countrywide Financial Corp. is one of the largest financial institutions in the country – and perhaps institution is no misnomer, given their latest bombshell: they’ll be laying off 12,000 workers.

Here’s their CEO, Angelo Mozilo, in happier times:

Countrywide’s “proprietary technology” would help it meet its goal “to avoid any foreclosure.” Countrywide invariably kept to “prudent underwriting guidelines,” he said, to ensure that its adjustable-rate borrowers could handle the highest interest rates that might kick in during the life of their mortgage. — L.A. Times

Call me cynical, but the words “proprietary technology” and mortgage company used together in the same sentence probably means that they’re lending money to anyone with an ability to breathe. How’s that for proprietary?

Over the last three years, Mozilo has cashed out 425 million in stock options. His “proprietary technology” certainly ensured his success. It’s unfortunate that the former employees are left with all of the “development costs”.

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