Photo: AP Photo
For everyone who hasn’t gotten around to the light reading that is Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan’s testimony on Countrywide, the toxic mortgage-lender the bank acquired, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has your back.The Countrywide case in question is massive, and has to do with investment insurer MBIA. MBIA is suing Bank of America because they allege Countrywide duped them into insuring mortgages that were known to be toxic but purported to be AAA grade securities.
When the housing market blew up in 2008, MBIA was then left on the hook for the pay-out.
Moynihan was deposed for this case back in May, but the transcript of his deposition was only made public this week.
Now, this probably doesn’t surprised you, but Taibbi was left completely unimpressed by Moynihan’s testimony on this matter, to say the least.
In this long-awaited interrogation – Bank of America has been fighting to keep Moynihan from being deposed in this case for some time – Moynihan does a full Star Trek special, boldly going where no deponent has ever gone before, breaking out the “I don’t recall” line more often and perhaps more ridiculously than was previously thought possible. Moynihan seems to remember his own name, and perhaps his current job title, but beyond that, he’ll have to get back to you…
Indeed the testimony includes a shocking number of “I don’t recall”s… about 223 pages worth.
Here are some highlights from Taibbi:
Early on, he asks Moynihan if he remembers the B of A audit committee discussing Countrywide. Moynihan says he “doesn’t recall any specific discussion of it.”
He’s asked again: In the broadest conceivable sense, do you recall ever attending an audit committee meeting where the word Countrywide or any aspect of the Countrywide transaction was ever discussed? Moynihan: I don’t recall…
This goes on and on for a while, with the Bank of America CEO continually insisting he doesn’t remember ever talking about Countrywide at these meetings, that you’d have to “get the minutes.” Incredulous, Calamari, a little sarcastically, finally asks Moynihan if he would say he has a good memory.
“I would – I could remember things, yes,” Moynihan deadpans. “I have a good memory.”
Moynihan ultimately goes on to say that Bank of America is just too big a company for him to remember what happened when it acquired Countrywide.
Q: By January 1st, 2010, when you became the CEO of Bank Of America, CFC – and I’m using the initials CFC, Countrywide Financial Corporation – itself was no longer engaged in any revenue-producing activities; is that right?
Moynihan: I wouldn’t be the best person to ask about that because I don’t know…
“Sir,” he says, “you were CEO of Bank Of America in January, 2010, but you don’t know what Countrywide Financial Corporation was doing at that time?”
“We have several thousand legal entities,” is how Moynihan puts it. “Exactly what subsidiary took place [sic] is not what you do as the CEO. That is [sic] other people’s jobs to make sure.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.