Chris Dodd's Loan Officer Says Senators Knew They Were Getting Sweetheart Mortgages

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The loan officer who ran the notorious “Friends of Angelo” program at Countrywide told the Senate Ethics committee in a secret hearing that Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad knew they were getting cut-rate “VIP” mortgages.

Both senators have denied knowing they were getting special financial treatment from Countrywide, and since estimates seem to vary as to how much money either senator saved by being in the “FOA” program it will probably be hard to prove.

One Washington Post calculation puts Dodd’s savings at $2,700 and Conrad’s at $10,700. 

The “Friends of Angelo” program has been a subject of recurring controversy since the loan officer, Robert Feinberg, left Countrywide out of “disillusionment” in 2007. Feinberg was the main source of a lengthy Portfolio investigation into the subprime lender’s cozy relationship with Beltway policy makers.

In retrospect, the Friends of Angelo seemed like a gratuitous program at best: the Beltway had been bought off long before. Countrywide’s frenzied bid to be John Edwards’ mortgage lender seems semi-desperate — and borderline naive — when considered amidst the endlessly-revolving door connecting the government to the home builders, mortgage lenders and their enablers on Wall Street.

Also, the FOA program seems almost stingy next to our favourite sweetheart mortgage of recent history. That’s the one where Commerce Bank (later sold to TD Waterhouse) gave a cut rate mortgage to now-incarcerated Philadelphia Treasurer Corey Kemp, despite a credit score of 443. Note to the American people: if somebody has a credit score of 443, you might think twice about making them the Treasurer of anything.

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