Friday, August 17, 2007

Bail Out Countrywide!

by Tanta on 8/17/2007 01:23:00 PM

Or mortgage brokers will get like totally bummed out.

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- There's more at stake in Countrywide's health than the future of the company -- if it isn't able to keep making loans, the psychological impact of the loss would be felt directly by consumers, participants in a California Association of Mortgage Brokers news conference said on Thursday.

"The consumer will feel that there is no loan availability if companies like Countrywide can't keep their doors open. This isn't some small company that decided to start up yesterday that had a risky business plan. This is America's leading lender," said Ed Craine, the public relations chairman of the group.

"The credit crunch is working its way through the whole market, taking companies we've seen as solid companies that nobody would ever expect to have problems and putting them on the brink of disaster."

As it is, certain mortgage products have been drying up and lending guidelines have been tightened -- "changing almost hourly," as the California group said in a news release. Lenders who have shut their doors this year have also reduced consumer options.

The problems Countrywide is having are proof of the depth of the market's current troubles, said John Marcell, who served as the group's president from 2005 to 2006.

"It just goes to show you the state that the market is in right now when you have the largest mortgage lender in the United States having these kind of difficulties," Marcell said. "We're going to have to get some relief some place to keep companies like this still in business."