Sunday, August 26, 2007

Countrywide Exposed. I think the IRS might want to look at the 1099 issue?

Countrywide and some of their shenanigans are exposed here in this piece by the Ny Times:

ON its way to becoming the nation’s largest mortgage lender, the Countrywide Financial Corporation encouraged its sales force to court customers over the telephone with a seductive pitch that seldom varied. “I want to be sure you are getting the best loan possible,” the sales representatives would say.

But providing “the best loan possible” to customers wasn’t always the bank’s main goal, say some former employees. Instead, potential borrowers were often led to high-cost and sometimes unfavorable loans that resulted in richer commissions for Countrywide’s smooth-talking sales force, outsize fees to company affiliates providing services on the loans, and a roaring stock price that made Countrywide executives among the highest paid in America.

The company’s incentive system also encouraged brokers and sales representatives to move borrowers into the subprime category, even if their financial position meant that they belonged higher up the loan spectrum.

Independent brokers who have worked with Countrywide also say the company does not provide records of their compensation to the Internal Revenue Service on a Form 1099, as the law requires. These brokers say that all other home lenders they have worked with submitted 1099s disclosing income earned from their associations.
One broker who worked with Countrywide for seven years said she never got a 1099.

“When I got ready to do my first year’s taxes I had received 1099s from everybody but Countrywide,” she said. “I called my rep and he said, ‘We’re too big. There’s too many. We don’t do it.’ ”

4 comments:

Tehachapi said...

After working and seeing what goes on in the RE industry, I've come to the realization that many people/companies in the RE industry are very unethical (It's a huge generalization, but it really is hard to find people who are on the level), from the RE agents, to the appraisers, all the way down to title and escrow companies!

Numpty McHoon said...

I re-fi'ed my original 2000 loan in 2003 with Cuntrywide(tm) for a lower APR and from 30 to 15 year term.

At the last minute, after driving all the way out ther ein the rain, they slid under my nose that I could aslso get a Heloc. I said no thanks. They said it won't cost a thing if you never use it.

I said what the hey, and never used it.

Sold my house in 2005, and *SURPIRISE* I dinged for ~$700 to close out the unused Heloc.

Sure, I should have taken the time to read it. But everything else was prepared. But I was in a hurry.

Oh they're good.

Raynor said...

Numpty: (and you call Bush a moron on your blog):

First of all interest on a HELOC is vastly different than normal LOC or even an ARM:

Because the balance of a HELOC may change from day to day, depending on draws and repayments, interest on a HELOC is calculated daily rather than monthly. For example, on a standard 6% mortgage, interest for the month is .06 divided by 12 or .005, multiplied by the loan balance at the end of the preceding month. If the balance is $100,000, the interest payment is $500.

On a 6% HELOC, interest for a day is .06 divided by 365 or .000164, which is multiplied by the average daily balance during the month. If this is $100,000, the daily interest is $16.44, and over a 30-day month interest amounts to $493.15; over a 31 day month, it is $509.59.

The major disadvantage of the HELOC, however, is its exposure to interest rate risk. All HELOCs are adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), but they are much riskier than standard ARMs. Changes in the market impact a HELOC very quickly. If the prime rate changes on April 30, the HELOC rate will change effective May 1. An exception is HELOCs that have a guaranteed introductory rate, but these hold for only a few months. Standard ARMs, in contrast, are available with initial fixed-rate periods as long as 10 years.

HELOC rates are tied to the prime rate, which some argue is more stable than the indexes used by standard ARMs. This is an illusion, however, arising from the fact that the prime rate doesn't change from day to day. In 2003, it changed only once, to a low of 4% on June 27. However, in the next three years it changed 17 times, by .25% each time, reaching 8.25% on June 29, 2006. In 1980, it changed 38 times and ranged between 11.25% and 20%.

In addition, most standard ARMs have rate adjustment caps, which limit the size of any rate change. And they have maximum rates 5-6% above the initial rates. HELOCs have no adjustment caps, and the maximum rate is 18% except in North Carolina, where it is 16%.

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