As dozens of mortgage lenders close or shed jobs, Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo
is staffing up to seize market share. The chief of the biggest home lender announced at an investor conference May 14 that he plans to add 2,000 sales jobs this year. Mozilo also announced subprime loans that borrowers can take 50 years to pay off. At the same time, Countrywide is tightening lending standards—and says it won’t retain any of those 50-year subprime loans for its portfolio.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.