An amazing conference call with Countrywide Financial (CFC), the largest US mortgage underwriter. It was beyond ugly. Here are some notable quotables from Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo:

- "During the quarter, softening home prices continued to affect many
areas of the country, and delinquencies and defaults continued to rise
across all mortgage product categories as a result."

-Delinquencies and defaults rising across all investment tools.

-Lower home
prices may effect credit.

-S&P Case-Schiller is strong tracking tool
for health of housing market
[Editor: we have referenced this many times]

-CFC continues to study further
tightening of loan standards for both subprime and prime

-CEO believes markets will force the weaker
mortgage companies to either work with bigger players or look elsewhere for

-For a Fed Governor to
say that the lending group had this coming is unbelievable.

The WTF line that I don’t get is this one:

"no one saw the
deterioration of real estate values coming."


Here comes the money shot:

"Company is seeing home price
depreciation at levels not seen since the Great Depression"

-Previously, the company had stated they expected a
turnaround in mid-2008; now, they say they are not sure when housing
declines will cease. Refuse to rule out house price declines in 2009; 

-Surprising comment regarding the prime portfolio: so far what they have seen in deliquencies is
due to people losing job, losing health, lost marriage, more so than any resets. Stated that the "definition of prime may not be as high as some people think."

-Expects to hear
mergers and people going out of business in the near future;

-The company cut its 2007 earnings forecast to a range of $2.70 to $3.30 a share, down from previously lowered guidance of $3.50 to $4.30 range (projected in April). In the beginning of the year, the company said it expected to earn $3.80 to $4.80 a share.


All told, a simply brutal and market moving nearly 3 hour conference call . . .

Thanks to for the update

Category: Derivatives, Intellectual Property, Markets, Psychology, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

67 Responses to “Countrywide: “Home price depreciation at levels not seen since the Great Depression””

  1. GerryL says:

    I am sitting here watching the containment of the subprime problem. Just think what might happen if it wasnt contained.

  2. m3 says:

    For a Fed Governor to say that the lending group had this coming is unbelievable.

    actually that gov. was spot on… they ALL deserve this.

    it’s their mess. let ‘em deal with it.

    subprime borrowers didn’t drive to CFC’s office, put guns to their head, and force them to give them loans that couldn’t be paid.

  3. Rubem Santos says:

    That’s because we are dancing around the bottom… did not see it coming??? LOL

  4. Deborah says:

    Do you remember when President Clinton said, “It depends upon what your definition of ‘is’is”? Today we asked CFC what Prime is. We learned that in CFC’s mind that there is virtually no difference in FICO scores between Prime and Subprime. This is what truly freaked out the credit markets.

  5. GerryL says:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    No one in the morgage business that was making huge profits :)

  6. Stuart says:

    Hmmm….I think Kudlow should have Jeremy Bowers back on asserting that he’s sick of the subprime talk and its all old news and overstated. LOL. Shills and Montebanks unite. Getting fugly out there.

  7. KirkH says:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    When the press quotes Lereah as the top “economist” with expertise in housing Joe Sixpack is sure to miss it. But I refuse to believe the smart money didn’t see this coming.

  8. peter from oz says:

    sorry too busy watching the Dow in the last hour and counting my cash from liquidation during recent suckers rally
    I guess we provencals just don’t get it
    rgds pcm

  9. MarkTX says:

    did CFC let the cat out of the bag with this conference??

    or is it reality check time for people?

    all that subprime/lending/debt news


    AAPL chart today/yesterday could be a turning point for the market built on hype, funny numbers, and gadgets…

    good luck out there to all…

  10. wally says:

    His point about a Fed Governor is valid. The Fed held rates at an extreme low level well beyond a prudent amount of time. It saw that the liquidity produced was going to flakey stuff, not legit business expansion, but it persisted anyway.
    If it lowers rates again to ‘save’ the economy, the same thing will happen again. It can produce liquidity; it cannot direct where liquidity goes.

  11. Rob Dawg says:

    Mozillo has extracted $400m from CFC over the last few years. he can afford to tell the truth now.

  12. MarkTX says:

    I would like to add that GS fell below 200

    where are you when we need you Hank….

    or are your hands really tied up this time?

    (no position)

  13. hpov2000 says:

    I would not say “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    Insiders surely saw it coming. They sold off 61.5% of their holding (from yahoo finance):

    In last 6 Months
    Insider Sales 4,547,500
    Net Shares Purchased(Sold) (4,547,500)
    Total Insider Shares Held 2.85M
    % Net Shares Purchased(Sold) (61.5%)

  14. rex says:

    Barry: What do you make of Bill Gross’s comments today?

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Weakness in junk bonds and subprime-mortgage markets could lead to as much as a double-digit correction in U.S. stock markets, respected bond-fund manager Bill Gross warned on Tuesday.
    “There’s no doubt this recent upward movement in yields justifies a 5%-10% correction in stock markets,” said the longtime manager of the $103.1 billion Pimco Total Return Bond Fund.

  15. mhm says:

    Let people yell SELL at the top of their lungs. It feels better now doesn’t it?

  16. Fred says:

    Bill Gross is a great stock market prognosticator — as a contrary indicator!

    Name ONE call he has made correctly!

    BTW…we had a 93% down volume day today. That is a classic flush job. Shorts that didn’t cover will be twitching tomorrow. Look at the VIX — the fear is palpable.
    Put call went out at 1.42.

    Multiple buy signals today.

  17. stormrunner says:

    Governments Get
    Bolder in Buying
    Equity Stakes

    Foreign governments, flush with cash and no longer content with the meager returns to be had on safe but low-yielding investments like Treasurys, are becoming increasingly aggressive players on the equity front.

    In doing so, Chinese lender China Development Bank and Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd., the Singapore government’s investment agency, could play a role in the outcome of the biggest bank-takeover battle ever. That increasingly bitter contest pits Barclays against a consortium of European banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC in seeking to acquire Dutch banking giant ABN ABN Amro Holding NV.


    So, let me get this straight, Communist “Free” market regimes are now buying up the western world with reserves accumulated by the exploitation of their citizenry — slave labor, and we think were safe from transitioning into fuedalism??
    There is no way that private busines can compete with this nonsense. Soon all business everywhere will have to have the equvilent of state backing, one day we’ll wake up saying –where’d the free market go??

  18. W.Edwards says:

    The website should be treated like gold for how valuable it’s been. It has been tracking the real-estate owned (REO, aka foreclosure) inventory of Country-wide since the beginning of the year. Simply put, the amount of foreclosure inventory that CFC has picked up since late January has doubled and is currently increasing at an annual rate of 300%+ with no sign of a slowdown!! And it’s a good bet that CFC hasn’t fully written down the potential losses of selling these houses in a declining market either. Look forward to many more quarters of disappointing results from CFC.

  19. No difference in the prime and subprime are you kidding me ? No wonder the AAA rated mortgage backed stuff at Bear is total crap.

    Everyone I talk to has been telling me don’t worry subprime is only 8% of CFC and others, its tiny. While I know that is crap, and don’t forget the Alt-A’s, if you are telling me the prime is crap as well…. !!

    Circle this day on the calendar, I’m betting this is straw that breaks it.

  20. Bob A says:

    …but don’t you worry about a thing folks. Just roll another fatty and sit back and watch Larry Kudlow tell you ‘Goldilocks is still alive’ on CNBC.

  21. Well,

    Let’s see whether they sell this down some more. If they do I am planning to back up the truck and load up on the bargains they leave behind.

  22. Globalized says:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    Well somebody did. How do I know? Because several of the bloggers I read (perhaps even this one) predicted that when it all came unglued, the first thing out of all the weasel’s mouths would be . . .

    “nobody could have seen it coming”

  23. Chief Tomahawk says:

    For those who didn’t see it, Erin Burnett had the interview with Bill Gross on CNBC. Gross likened the deteriorization of the corporate bond market over the last few weeks as akin to the Fed raising interest rates 150 basis points. Specifically Gross called it a magnitude 8.0 Earthquake. Gross stated the stock market would have to take notice and said a selloff was coming.

    THEN… Larry Kudlow participated on a roundtable discussion a half hour before his show on CNBC. Larry was steamed at Gross. Larry called Gross an ass who was talking up his book.

    And then a short time later on his show, Larry apologized for lashing out at Gross and said he shouldn’t have said what he did. Of course the three bulls on his show comforted Larry as there was only one bear (too bad Gary Shilling was on Monday night… all the mocking he’s taken from Larry) on the panel tonight. Art Laffer said something along the lines of today was but a flesh wound…

  24. Alex says:

    Wow. What a conference call.

    Generally, banks make a point of being a calming influence. Refusing to rule out home price depreciation into 2009 is like pulling the fire alarm…!

    I wonder if there is even MBS CDO BBB tranche that will not take a loss with home price depreciation for two years straight?

  25. The Big Picture | Countrywide: “Home price depreciation at levels not seen since the Great Depression”

    Link: The Big Picture | Countrywide: Home price depreciation at levels not seen since the Great Depression.

  26. KnotRP says:

    “like pulling the fire alarm”…he’s been playing with it for a while now, but the Fed hasn’t lowered interest rates, so he’s apparently decided to pull it off the wall.

  27. says:

    More bad housing data strike higher incomes

    UPDATE: The Big Picture has details on the conference call announcing these results.
    Countrywide Financial Corp. had very bad Q2 profit numbers:

    The rise in credit-related costs were primarily related to the companys investments in prime home e…

  28. jules says:

    “Larry was steamed at Gross. Larry called Gross an ass who was talking up his book.”

    Sorry, but Larry is correct. Face it, when you’re running that size bond portfolio, you do NOT telegraph what you really feel before you need to make moves.

    Case in point — He is being shown massive size corporate paper. It IS in his book’s interest to “scare” corporate spreads higher to get a better prices and covenants.

    Do you actually think he moves markets out of the goodness of his philanthropic heart?


    He doesn’t get paid on his predictions coming true — DJIA 5000, and his recent “much higher interest rates”, etc. He gets paid on performance. The only edge he has is his ability to USE CNBC to do his bidding. It’s so obvious if you open your eyes.

    Think of him as a card player…are his cards REALLY BLEEDING (you can see his hand?) If you think so you’re in the wrong business!

    These deals – Boots and Chrysler will get done. Watch the shorts scramble when they do.

    So to sum it up, when Gross moves a market on his fearful “predictions, go the other way — and make money!

  29. Michael Cook says:

    Interestingly everyone seems to move the recovery time back by six months every couple of weeks. With an uncertain 2009 now, should investors be thinking 2010 or later? More importantly is this rock bottom for mortgage brokers? I certainly dont think it is and based on this conference calls, things might get real ugly in this industry.

  30. W.Edwards says:

    I’m surprised (although I shouldn’t be) at how little coverage there has been of the Countrywide analyst call. I didn’t hear one thing about it on CNBC during the times that I watched and the WSJ appears to have made reference to it only in passing in a few small articles. The WSJ article in particular refers to how some investors in CFC are hopeful that the bottom is near and that a turn-around in the mortgage woes will soon occur. As per my comments above, the real carnage has yet to begin!

  31. jag says:

    Isn’t it a bit hard to reconcile:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    with Mozillo’s relentless sale of his Countrywide stock over the last year?

  32. Jim says:

    “home price depreciation levels not seen since Depression” – true but from dizzying heights built upon appreciation not seen since …. ever. anyway, we savers need a correction so we can invest again with the probabilities more in our favor.

  33. Dr. Tettrazini says:

    Is it just me or does this resemble the last Republican credit and
    Banking scandal, i.e., The Unsecured Loans on No Basis in Fact
    that cost the economy Billions. A Bush was in on that one.

  34. KP says:

    Gross is trying to cause a major “flight to quality” so that his current holdings will appreciate. The last person you trust is someone with that much skin in the game.

    Housing and the dollar is bleeding to death right before our eyes and everything that depends on it will suffer for it. That is the only certainty. The timing is the only truly unknown variable, though a lot of people believe they are smart enough to get out in time.(they aren’t)

  35. Brendan says:

    “Interestingly everyone seems to move the recovery time back by six months every couple of weeks.”

    The F.U. time unit strikes again.

  36. michael schumacher says:

    what a remarkable recovery in the dollar today….how do they do it????

    If you did’nt see that coming….well


  37. Weaseldog says:

    No one could have anticipated the breach of the levees either.

    There appears to be a long lasting meme evolving here.

  38. -ck- says:

    “home price depreciation levels not seen since Depression” — perhaps; but the cost-of-housing in the USA over the past 10 years has risen to levels that is DOUBLE the historic average for the past 200 years. A correction is not an entirely unhealthy thing.

    Using California as an example — if values rise 20% per year for many years, and then fall 20% in one year, the 5 year average value is still up more than 50%.

    As a real estate appraiser in Denver, what I’m seeing is this — all markets are local, with very different value trends in different market sectors. Supply and Demand governs all real estate values, but the current foreclosure crisis is driven by the ARM resets in the sub-prime market, and has hit entry level neighborhoods the hardest. I’ve seen a decline 15-20% of high sale prices in entry level neighorhoods over the past nine months — which in turn, drives more homeowners into foreclosure, because their homes won’t appraise for a refi.

    Meanwhile, the move up neighborhoods are doing okay, with slight declines or modest increases in value. In the upscale and high end neighborhoods, values are booming like we haven’t seen in years. (Denver home values have been basically flat since 2001.)

    Bottom Line — the foreclosure crisis and declining values are driven by predatory sub-prime lending, with 100% LTV purchases being the worst culprit. On the other hand, the general economy (in Denver) is strong, and much of the REO inventory is being absorbed quickly, often by fix n’ flip investors who make a decent profit turning them around.

    Whether the depressed values of the REO drags down the good neigborhoods and the general economy remains to be seen.

  39. michael schumacher says:

    regarding countrywide…….my wife adds the following:

    CFC is a major buyer of loans, the amount they write is much lower than the rate at which they buy them at ( apparently CFC rates suck so that’s a reason for the low amount of CFC booked loans). Basically she is saying that a major buyer of all types of loans has removed itself from being the potential catalyst to purchase (or repurchase in CFC’s case) bad debt. No one seems to have mentioned this in any analysis.

    PS: she is making me type this as I do know that most of you most likely are aware of this. She’s just tired of the business getting the flak instead of the people (the buyer+lenders) from within the business who have bent the rules and allowed people to get loans who have no business even cashing a check let alone making a mortgage payment. Also Minnesota and Colorado have now taken the No doc loans(what’s been called liar loans) and banned them from being offered.
    States as regulators in the loan business will be a theme going forward I’m told.


  40. Weaseldog says:

    Policies start at the top.

    Greenspan and his friends knew what they were setting up.

    Responsibility starts with people in positions of responsibility.

    As an acquaintance that writes used car commercials once told me, “Half of the population is on the left side of bell curve and they buy cars too.”

    As I see it, we have two possibilities that explain the boom and bust cycles that are sucking the life out of the economy, the stupidest loonies that ever walked the earth are in charge of our nation’s banking systems, or… this is intentional.

    If it is intentional, then who profits?

  41. Full CFC transcript

    CFC press release

    Check out page 6, while subprime is problem #1, it’s the home equity lines that have seen the greatest expansion of delinquencies

  42. -ck- says:

    As I see it, we have two possibilities that explain the boom and bust cycles that are sucking the life out of the economy, the stupidest loonies that ever walked the earth are in charge of our nation’s banking systems, or… this is intentional.

    If it is intentional, then who profits?

    In good times with economic stability, the rich get richer . . .

    In times of conflict and economic instability, the rich get filthy rich . . .

  43. michael schumacher says:

    MD gets the award for posting the next implosion to hit the “unaware” mortgage industry. LOC delinquencies……….wait..


  44. Valdan says:

    “Greenspan and his friends knew what they were setting up.”

    Yes, I knew something was fishy when Greenspan was pushing adjustable rate mortgages about 5 or 6 years ago, when the fixed 30-year rates and the adjustable rates were only nominally different.

  45. bartkid says:

    >”no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    Alright, who let Mozilo channel the American Secretary of State?

  46. Kilfarsnar says:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”


    Unprecedented appreciation for a very long time. And “no one” saw a price drop coming? I saw it coming years ago. I was in the market a couple of years ago and couldn’t believe the crap selling for $300,000. It was obvious that a correction was coming. I’m just surprised it took so long!

  47. mojo says:

    These deals – Boots and Chrysler will get done. Watch the shorts scramble when they do. ~ KnotRP

    From todays Marketwatch:

    The Chrysler deal is the biggest yet deal to stumble amid slackening appetite for risky leveraged loans and high yield debt.
    The deal now will be financed through having underwriters and private equity firm Cerberus, which is taking Chrysler private, hold the debt.
    Wall Street underwriters are “going ahead with the deal, but they are going ahead in a very untraditional way,” said John Atkins, fixed-income analyst at
    “It does not speak well for the condition of the market that they are going about this in this way.”

    Or maybe, Knot.

  48. mojo says:

    Err..or maybe…jules

    My apologies to KnotRP

  49. RE.Agent says:

    It’s a new paradigm, and everybody who doesn’t buy, now, will be priced out forever. Anybody who does buy will be rewarded with a lifetime of riches, as their property will continue its 30% yearly price increase.

    Renters, and anybody born in a future generation, will not be able to afford a $10,000,000 starter home in 15 years. They will live in tent cities, and Hondas.

    This asset bubble is different than all of the others – it will never slow down, or pop. The gains are permanent.

  50. repo4sale says:

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  51. Newspoo says:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.” – Classic

    WTF?!?! Really?…This never occured to anyone in the biz that home were being way overvalued? A home that went for $118,000 just days prior going to triple that because of greed? Shitty neighborhoods now holding half-million dollar homes complete with particle board cabinets, and leaky roofs…

    Now there are tears being shed because ARMS payments can’t be afforded…waaah…it’s time to reap. The real value is watching this all unfold…A lot of us called it, but despite our largely unheard, un-paid-attention to warnings, folks took out those mortgages anyway.

    What a joke.

  52. RE.Agent says:

    They aren’t making any more land, and you have to live somewhere!

  53. Home Price Depreciation

    Sigh. Me and one of my friends whom I talk about real estate with knew this was coming, which is why we avoided buying property a few years ago (notwithstanding buying and flipping in a short time). A quote from Countrywide Financials recent c…

  54. MB9 says:

    The WTF line that I don’t get is this one:

    “no one saw the deterioration of real estate values coming.”

    See this chart:

    and then tell me with a straight face you never saw it coming?

  55. One Man says:

    I’m sure pretty much everyone saw it coming. One more reason to make money online. Businesses don’t depreciate quite so quickly.

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 online. To invest in a house.

  56. PSST! it says:

    Countrywide: Home price depreciation at levels not seen since the Great Depression

    An amazing conference call with Countrywide Financial (CFC), the largest US mortgage underwriter. It was beyond ugly. Here are some notable quotables from Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo:

    - &quot

  57. Locke says:

    This situation is the result of over-speculation. The frightening thing is that when ownership of houses in an area by a single person reaches a critical mass that person can destroy competition and private ownership by holding a monopoly on rent prices. The answer to this is not rent control! The solution lies within believing that land is only truly owned by a government, and the government is the ultimate rentor.


  58. ron says:

    doesn’t matter what kind of loan people have they still have to foreclose because they overpaid their house by 50%.

  59. Barbara Berwick says:

    Take a big look at the chart of the 10-year bond for June…. you know the chart that mortgage people use to set interest rates for the loans they issue. When interest rates rise, home stats go down. And, now this same rate has back off 3/8% from their highs. This June number thing is a blip. a 3/8% cur in the 10 year bond will restore sanity to the real estate asset class.

    I saw it coming, and I made a mint! Up over 12% this month. I take clients.

    Barbara Ann Berwick

  60. halbhh says:

    “no one saw [it] coming” is a classic line, which we are doomed to hear over and over.

    “No one saw 9-11 coming”

    “No one saw the fall of the Iron Curtain coming”

    “No one….etc, [saw what I didn't see]”

    I’ve experienced this myself once or twice, as I bet many of us have.

  61. Brian Upton says:

    I’m looking for a small farm or ranch, with some broken-down buildings that I can “steal”. Brian Upton

  62. Ames Tiedeman says:

    Will housing prices rise by 2009?

  63. Lynn Frantzen says:

    I would like to know if homeowners will have an option similar to the new FHA refi with Country Wide. I would think this would benefit the lender by avoiding some of the foreclosures and adding some postive PR in their direction.