Bank of America and Countrywide's "Hustle"

A woman walking past an office of Countrywide banking and home loans in Sun City, Ariz. According to a long-awaited review by a House committee, Countrywide gave preferential treatment to members of Congress, their staffs and employees of Fannie Mae in order to win influence in government.

This final note, in which the federal government gets a rare financial crisis legal win.

A jury in Manahattan found Bank of America guilty of a single count of civil fraud related to defective mortgages sold by Countrywide Financial, the subprime lender Bank of America bought in 2008 as the storm was gathering.

Federal prosecutors are asking for $850 million in damages, which is what they say Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost when Countrywide unloaded bad loans.

Not that this is dispositive, as lawyers like to say, but Bank of America might have known it was in trouble when it learned the nickname Countrywide used for the mortgage packaged: Hustle.


About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...