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Politicians Allegedly Participated in Countrywide’s VIP Loan Program

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to inform them that he has found evidence that four current members of the House of Representatives received loans through a VIP loan program that has been under investigation since 2008.


The loan program was operated by Countrywide, which Bank of America purchased in 2008.

The program -- commonly referred to as the ""Friends of Angelo"" program -- allegedly offered specific individuals loans at lower interest rates than was available to the public.


In 2009, Issa said, ""This investigation finds that Countrywide embarked in a determined and calculated effort to buy influence â€" employees openly weighed the political influence of targeted officials when deciding what perks to offer.""

He continued: ""Countrywide VIPs in positions of key responsibility didn't innocently stumble into loans with reduced rates and waived fees â€" they were recruited into the program personally by high-ranking company officials including former CEO Angelo Mozilo.""

The committee is sifting through 100,000 pages in documents obtained by Bank of America-which purchased Countrywide in 2008-after serving the bank two subpoenas.

""Testimony and documents show that Countrywide used the VIP program to build relationships with government officials and others positioned to advance Countrywide's business interests,"" Issa said in his letter Friday.

Countrywide also allegedly offered about 173 discounted loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees, according to the letter.

There is also ""the possibility that loans with VIP-benefits were conferred to other Members, and serviced by a separate loan processing branch,"" Issa stated.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.

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