October 20th, 2008
04:13 PM ET

Culprits of the Collapse – #4 Angelo Mozilo


So who is to blame for this financial fiasco?
That’s the question we’ve begun investigating.
We’ve put together a list of the Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse.
#4 on our list: Former Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. CNN's David Mattingly reports.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. John

    How many of these crooks are Republican – I would guess ALL of them!

    October 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  2. Bob

    Clearly the architect of the collapse of the economy was Ronald Reagan. Elimination of retirement pension plans in favor of 401K plans using retirement accounts of millions of Americans to fund markets that are controlled by a handful of unregulated investors set the stage for the redistribution of wealth from the hard working middle class to the nomes who control the world's wealth. To make matters worse the same republicans then borrow more money from the hard working middle class to bail out the wealthy institutions used by the nomes to squeeze more life blood from hard working individuals and morgage the future of our children. We must reinstitute the uptick rule, eliminate 401 K plans, and force the nomes to make money the old fashioned way, by investing in those of us who work for a living thereby making enough profit to carry our families and theirs. Reagan policies will be shown to have long lasting negative impact on numerous fronts. Unfortunately Reagan policies of deregulation have had a long term and devistating impact on more than the economy. Failure to list Reagan as a culprit may be reasonable due to the larger role he played. He was the architect.

    October 20, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  3. Heather,ca

    I wonder if its at all possible to take all his assets and return them to the treasury.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  4. Richard E Reed

    I hope Bush gets on this list. He determined before his election that the only thing driving America's economy was consumer buying. He gave us tax "credit cards," allowed loans on homes up to 125% of value, encouraged marginal lending, and tightened bankruptcy law to encourage increased extension of credit. It almost worked to keep the economy growing until he left office, but the house of cards collapsed a bit too soon. Americans ran out of their power to buy, even on borrowed money.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  5. SM

    Where is Barney Frank? Chris Dodd? #1 should be all those people who took loans and living beyond their means, knowing they couldn't afford it.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  6. Patrick of Ohio

    I agree with Stacey up above. Consumers do share some part of the blame. However, I think most people wouldn't buy the 300,000 dollar home if the usurers, sorry I mean bankers, didn't tell them that they could get one of these nifty adjustable rate mortgages and have real small down payments so that they could afford the house of their dreams, until of couse that adjustable rate adjusts. I think the most part of the blame lays on the loansharks, grifters, and usurers. In medieval times these people would be tortured to death. Let's simply content ourselves with throwing them away into prison for fraud. That is the fair and just thing to do, instead of being like Obama and McCain letting them keep their multimillion dollar jobs.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  7. Robert Brown, Casper, Wyoming

    Dear Anderson,
    My wife and I enjoy the balanced and insightful analysis by you and your team. And we have enjoyed the naming of the Culprits of the Collapse. They need to be named. What I would like to know is exactly how these people can be held accountable. It is one thing to know who they are; it's another thing altogether to hold them accountable. To my way of thinking, these culprits, especially those who profited with such unimaginable profligacy, ought not have any bonuses whatsoever for this year. Their salaries (and stock options and other financial benefits) should be slashed down to no more than 10 times the lowest paid employee in their organization. And they should be required to pay back at least 50% of all financial benefits of the last ten years to the government (to help fund the bail out plan). What is often forgotten in all the financial discussions is that there is a finite amount of wealth in the system. And when one individual is allowed to suck out such huge amounts, others are left with much, much less, and unjustly so. And it's not just a matter of the CEOs and executives being able to buy a bigger boat while someone down the ladder only buys a smaller one. In reality, it is often the difference between incredible opulence on the one side, and homelessness and hunger on the other. Now, of course, there are those who will say that this amounts to socialism. Such simplistic thinking should not be taken too seriously. Even capitalism has its mechanisms for "spreading around the wealth": it's called taxes. As a society, we should not allow individuals or small groups or businesses to essentially fleece others for their own benefit. No one is truly entitled to 400 plus million dollars in bonuses. No one. No one actually brings that much value to any organization. And those who bring just as much value to organizations as those who are getting these incredible bonuses, such as workers much lower down the ladder, are not compensated proportionally. It would be great if there is in fact a way to hold these culprits accountable for real. I suspect that like most things on TV in America, our attentions will be held for the moment regarding these bad boys of the financial melt down, but in a week or a month all will be forgotten, and they will merrily go on their way, laughing all the way to the bank or to their mansions or island get-aways or to their private jets or . . . Is there any way to REALLY hold them accountable?

    By the way, my wife and I are registered independents and are proud to be voting for Barack Obama for President.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  8. Rose from Muscoy

    Let's get all of these CEO'S and have them payback with their TAXRETURNS, next year or sooner!

    October 20, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  9. Scott Covey

    My name is Scott, I think that our president George Bush, should be number ! on the list of who is the Culprit of the collapse....

    October 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  10. Patty

    As a retired mortgage broker (I was out of the biz before the really crazy ARM's were marketed) I could see the handwritting on the wall

    One problem in explaining how the market collapsed is that most people don't understand the basics of home financing. This made the public an easy target for the high pressure loan officers who could make a loan to fit any borrower, with the help of Countrywide.

    If you want to know what really went on inside Countrywide, why not ask some of the ex-senior underwriters for Countrywide who were asked to underwrite "the Countrywide way"?

    After a conversation with one of them, you will know that there is no question regarding fraud.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  11. Leanne

    Anderson, what happens after you list these names? What actions will be taken, if any?

    October 20, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  12. Ruth

    Sometimes I wonder if the "Stock Market" is just some "White elephant", all "Smoke and Mirrors". What will they do about these Men anyway? Why does it have to be at Crisis point that any questions are asked or any action is taken? It seems like a futile attempt to me.~Sigh~

    October 20, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  13. Reese

    An occupied home is better than an empty one

    October 20, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  14. sam

    I agree with Stacey, but the banks and our Gov allowed and encouraged people to spend what they couldn't afford. I hope Barney Franks makes this list

    October 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  15. David of Alexandria

    I couldn't agree with Stacey more and appreciate her bring up this unpopular perspective. Certainly there are some scoundrals in the mortgage industry that issued loans they shouldn't have. And certainly there are some true victims out there who deserve our help and sympathy..

    But, what ever happened to the common sense advice of our parents like, "If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is." Who would ever bet their financial security that the housing bubble would never burst or that recessions will never happen from time to time and jobs can't be lost?

    Every time I see one of the tragic tales of someone losing theri house because they were injured on the job or a spouse died, i wonder if the word "insurance" ever got into the conversation about buying a house they could barely afford at the best of times.

    What about the many American who have always lived within their means and paid their bills on time, and provided for life's uncertainty who now see their hard-earned savings significangtly dimisished because of the thoughtless or selfish acts of people buying and selling things wich could not have been afforded? There are some innocent victims here who will have to bear their "fair share" of the bailouts.

    As we move forward through this recovery, will we be smart enough to avoid the same pitfall? How about oil? An article in the Post asked if the lower prices would cause Detroit to shy away from fuel efficient cars? Could we be that stupid? Well we have been before.

    October 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  16. xtina, chicago IL

    agree with "stacey". And just because the bank offers you a great int. rate, doesn't mean you can afford a payment in the long term. A bank may be giving us a "vote of confidence" when they put a 0percent interest credit card in the mailbox, but that doesn't mean we can afford another line of credit.

    October 20, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  17. Larry

    Stacey, that's true; however, what was the bait to attract those consumers?

    October 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  18. Stacey

    Although my guess that a majority of the American people will not like the comment I am about to make, I believe that we as consumers share part of the blame for the mortgage meltdown. Over the past several years, we have been spending beyond our means, including buying houses we can't afford. A person earning $50,000 a year has no business purchasing a $300,000 home.

    October 20, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  19. Larry

    Surprised Chris Dodd isn't sitting right beside him.

    October 20, 2008 at 4:40 pm |