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The Email that Set Off a Storm

 
The CEO of mortgage company Countrywide Financial Corp. didn't make many friends when he dismissed a customer's complaint as "disgusting." Angelo Mozilo, CEO of the beleaguered company, accidentally hit "reply" instead of "forward" when he received a customer e-mail from Daniel Bailey Jr. The e-mail set off a firestorm of criticism on the Internet as Countrywide has been accused of widespread duplicity in issuing loans to customers.

Bailey was facing the loss of his home of 16 years when he sent the e-mail, using language from the Web site LoanSafe.org asking to refinance his loan to more affordable terms. Mozilo wrote in response, "This is unbelievable. Most of these letters now have the same wording. Obviously they are being counseled by some other person or by the Internet. Disgusting."

The e-mail touched off a wave of fury after it was posted on the LoanSafe.org message board, prompting Countrywide to respond that they "regret any misunderstanding caused by his inadvertent response to an e-mail by Mr. Bailey. Countrywide is actively working to help borrowers like Mr. Bailey keep their homes."

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