Sen. Conrad: No Preferential Treatment

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Monday, June 23, 2008

The June 17 editorial "A Friend in Need" was inaccurate.

The Post suggested that I spoke with Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo in 2004.

Wrong. I spoke to Mr. Mozilo for 30 seconds in 2002 when he referred me to a junior loan officer. I never met Mr. Mozilo personally, and I've never spoken to him again.

There were no rate cuts or sweetheart deals. The loan I received was at prevailing rates. How do I know? The Post's Real Estate section on Nov. 9, 2002, showed that my mortgage was at prevailing rates.

Further, because I did not know if Countrywide would grant me a loan or on what terms, I also consulted a mortgage broker. He offered me the identical rate as Countrywide.

In 2003, I refinanced my mortgage, again at market rates. How do I know? Check The Post on May 24, 2003. A year later, I refinanced again to a 15-year mortgage, again at market rates according to the March 13, 2004 edition of The Post.

Internal Countrywide e-mails show that they waived a one-point fee worth $10,700 on this 2004 loan -- without my knowledge. The Post's news pages noted that this practice was common to keep and attract good loans. The Post quoted Steve Calem of American Bank of Rockville, who said mortgages such as the one I received from Countrywide were in line with his experience.

I did not ask for, expect or receive preferential treatment in the pricing of my loans.


U.S. Senator (D-N.D.)


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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