Kurland, Countrywide, PennyMac, and Greed

You don’t have to agree with me on this one, but it’s the way I see it. Stanford Kurland (pictured left) and other former top executives of Countrywide Financial have joined together to create another lending venture called PennyMac. You will remember that Countrywide was one of the lending giants in the sub-prime market and fairly or unfairly must share in the blame for the mortgage industry crisis and the nation’s economic downturn. It might sound unusual that these former lenders have returned to the marketplace, this time to buy up “bad” or underperforming paper for pennies on the dollar from companies looking to clear these loans off their books. Both Kurland and John Lawrence, head of loan servicing, have remarked to the extreme profitable nature of this new business. The individuals, who share in the blame of our current economic crisis made unprecedented profits in the boom, now stand to do so again in the bust. Some call it capitalism; I’m going to call it shameless. I’m not sure that Kurland and others realize the full significance of their prevous and present actions. If they did, I believe they’d be leery and steer clear of the opportunity to make money off of the mess they helped to create.

Some claim this new venture is helping people save their homes by bringing “patient” money into the marketplace. While this may be true, the reason we’re in this mess is because companies like Countrywide put us here to begin with. Where was all this “patient” money to begin with? Please note, I don’t have a mortgage or never have had a mortgage originated or serviced by Countrywide, so I’m not a burned customer venting about predatory lending habits. I’m trying to do some “black and white” thinking in a very grey world. Truth is truth and it is absolute and not relative. A life lived by the notion of relative truth is unable to lead an honorable, ethical, and moral life. Right is right and wrong is wrong – regardless of the context. I personally believe it’s an ethical issue here and just another example of greed taking the driver’s seat. If Kurland, Lawrence, and others are really entering the marketplace to help bring resolution, they’d give all of their income from this venture to charity. But, they won’t do that, they’ll pocket millions post-bust just the way they did in the boom. It’s a sad day when money dictates our actions and overrides our sense of morality. The love of money really is a root of all kinds of evil.