Mortgage lender cancels trip to Beaver Creek after huge layoffs
February 26, 2008
LOS ANGELES ” Countrywide Financial Corp. canceled plans to host a business summit at the Ritz Carlton at Beaver Creek after published details of the event drew criticism of the mortgage lender, which has racked up huge losses and laid off thousands of workers in recent months.
Since the late 1990s, the company’s correspondent lending division has sponsored at least one meeting a year with representatives of small banks, credit unions and mortgage companies that make home loans then sell them to Countrywide.
The latest plan was to host 30 mortgage bankers for three nights at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Avon, where the rate for a regular room on a weekday starts at $750, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported the details Friday.
As reports of the meeting spread, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat and vocal critic of Countrywide, called on the company to cancel the trip.
Countrywide issued a statement Monday saying it had canceled the meeting and all similar planned gatherings for the rest of this year “in light of recent events.”
Company spokesman Rick Simon declined to elaborate. Schumer applauded the lender’s decision but said it was “a day late and a dollar short.”
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Countrywide has been struggling amid a nationwide housing downturn and lingering credit crisis. The company previously reported a loss of $422 million in 2007’s fourth quarter and a loss of $1.2 billion in the third quarter, as higher defaults forced the lender to boost its provisions for anticipated losses.
In January, Bank of America Corp. agreed to purchase Countrywide for about $4 billion in stock. The transaction is projected to close in the third quarter.