June 23, 2009

The Power of Procrastination

One of the advantages of not getting work done on a reasonable schedule is that new material keeps popping up. For example, while I was working on my new VDARE.com article about mortgage-meister Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial last night, at midnight The New Yorker happened to post a new article on the defendant in a new SEC fraud and insider trading suit that confirmed my interpretation.

Here's an excerpt from my VDARE.com piece on Mozilo:
Over the decades, the federal government changed the entire culture of the mortgage industry from penny-pinching skeptics to politically correct pollyannas.

Nobody took less persuading, however, than Mozilo. He always felt discriminated against by the old WASP financial elite. Jeff Bailey’s 2005 NYT article about Mozilo begins:
"A touch of resentment—based on income, education, social class—motivates countless ambitious people, though few will admit to it once they become successful. An exception is Angelo R. Mozilo …

Connie Bruck’s fairly sympathetic new article, Angelo’s Ashes: The man who became the face of the financial crisis, in the June 29, 2009 New Yorker (an abstract is online here) documents just how driven Mozilo always has been by his Commitment to Diversity. Mozilo’s sister told Bruck:
"He was always this Italian guy people didn’t want to accept. When he tans he gets really dark. My mother told me that when he worked in Florida he was asked to sit in the back of the bus."

(Actually, in many photographs, Mozilo looks less brown than orange, more like an Oompa-Loompa in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or the victim of a bad spray-on tan.)

Bruck notes:
"Mozilo always saw himself as providing mortgages to many who were like him -- disenfranchised. ('So they’re not upper-middle-class white people—so what?' he would say. 'They’re Hispanics, and maybe their money is not in a bank—but they are responsible.')'

Bruck’s article suggests that Mozilo actually believes what he told Congress in 2008:
"By the early 1990s, the government had recognized the obvious truth that our housing finance system was leaving major segments of society behind. In 1992, a landmark study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston made it clear that there were systemic underwriting issues relating to the treatment of African American and Hispanic borrowers. Policymakers called upon the mortgage industry to change their practices and redouble their efforts to better serve minorities and underserved communities. While many in the industry discounted the Boston Fed study as flawed, at Countrywide, we stepped up to the challenge by creating our affordable lending initiative known as 'House America.' "

Bruck’s New Yorker article supports Mozilo’s sincerity—or self-delusion:
"… In 1992, shortly after Mozilo became chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston issued a report stating that it had found systemic discrimination by mortgage lenders against African-American and Hispanic borrowers. … Mozilo was appalled. He ordered that all Countrywide’s records on rejected minority applicants be sent to him, and he retroactively approved about half of them. …"

In 2002, a UCLA business professor named Eric Flamholtz suggested to Mozilo the disastrous strategy of trying to grow Countrywide’s share of the mortgage market from ten percent to an oligopolistic 30 to 40 percent. But to pursue its goal of market dominance, Countrywide’s marginal customers would inevitably have to be drawn increasingly from the ranks of those who had never qualified for a mortgage before: in other words, they’d be largely minority.

Result: Mozilo grew into the ultimate embodiment of the type of financial executive the federal government had been cultivating: a monster of ambition combined with a diva of diversity.

Bruck goes on:
"By 2004, Countrywide had become a leading U.S. mortgage lender to what it called ‘multicultural market communities.’ Mozilo always described Countrywide’s inclusion of minority and immigrant populations as both business and mission, and he had become perhaps the single most important advocate of those who believed in advancing homeownership as a means of achieving a more equitable society."

According to The New Yorker, my kind of thinking about origins of the Mortgage Meltdown is personally and politically offensive to Mozilo:
"Several years ago, at the Midwinter Housing Conference, in Park City, Utah, after hearing some mortgage bankers saying that minorities didn’t deserve loans, he declared in a speech, ‘Homeownership is not a privilege but a right!’ Now he abhors the idea that the retrograde view has gained credence. As the Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said last September, 'Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.'"

Sorry about that, Angelo.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

41 comments:

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

He probably had something of a Napoleon complex as well. He was supposed to be real short, like in the 5'4" range.

He also had goomba bodyguards who walked around with one hand in their jackets, like they would have to take down a potential assassin. Given how the mortgage mess turned out, that maybe wasn't a bad idea.

David Loeb was the brains of the outfit, Angelo was the salesman. From what trickled down to the lower ranks, once David was gone caution went to the wind.

I am Lugash.

Joey said...

Angelo Mozilo is a very rich thief. The money always came first. All the prattle about minorities that deserve mortgages? A lie and designed to help him with any OJ type jury he gets tried in front of

Bob said...

Orange People are well represented among the powerful. Besides Mozilo, there is John Boenher and Charlie Crist.

Anonymous said...

People should not be able to buy houses with nothing down. They need to have something to lose to keep them paying the mortgage.

Danindc said...

The perfect face for this mess. Is he going to do time? Is Madoff in jail? Why don't these people have the common decency to hang themselves? Seriously, I think Derb mentioned that in the UK people who buggered boys or stole or shamed their families would often just hang themselves or some such. The Enron guy did it and he wasn't even the main culprit. Is it too much to ask that these people go off into the forest and blow their brains out? Good dogs will often do that as well so as not to bother the family. My dog Thor did that when it was his time, in fact he dug his own grave...that may have been a coincidence in that he did like to dig.

Anonymous said...

'They’re Hispanics, and maybe their money is not in a bank—but they are responsible'

Giggle...

Chief Seattle said...

For $300 Million I'd paint my face orange and sing the praises of lending to anything with a pulse.

The thing is, if it was Mozillo's own money he was lending, he would have a lot of credibility. But it wasn't. He was lending the money of pension funds and savings accounts - and taking a huge cut along the way. It didn't matter a bit to him whether the money was ever paid back - he still got his cut. The truly amazing, and criminal thing is that the pension funds and banks bought his securities. But I guess it wasn't really their money either.

Mercer said...

How many of the counties in the inland empire allow new mobile homes? These are probably the only type of house that lower income residents can afford on the coasts without two hour commutes.

Warren Buffet owns the biggest mobile home company. He notes in his latest shareholder letter that 35 percent of its buyers have sub-prime credit scores but that default rates were only 3 percent in 2008.

In the DC area no new trailer communities are allowed within 75 miles of the city.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how minorities and 'other' continues to kick the dead 'WASP establishment' horse, there seems to be an overt interest in maintaining the myth that were are some snooty WASPs in mink lined ties staring down their noses from the University club, controlling anything of importance and keeping the Jews out.

Its funny how this is 'always' the excuse for bad minority or 'other' behavior. Gee, I am a WASP, I guess i can't blame anyone if i want to go 'bad'..I could blame the jewish establishment, but that would be anti-semitic.

Anonymous said...

I wonder to what extent Italians don't quite feel white or white white still.

Anonymous said...

Steve, You are great. When is your book coming out?

Anonymous said...

Miles here,



Mozillo declared:

"Homeownership is not a privilege but a right"


What else is a "right"? A Ferrari perhaps? When you go in for a home loan, if you fail to qualify, they will gladly tell you (if you ask) what you need to do to get creditworthy for the underwriter. They will tell you what bills need to be paid off, any old bills a borrower has that haven't been paid that have been forgotten about also must be paid off, what second car or boat that is still being financed that has the borrowers income/debt ratio to low that might need to be sold et cetera.

You have a "right" to go out and do these things, and get yourself as creditWORTHY as the whites who get loans. You can also move back in with your parents for a while and save money, drive a used car for a while and save money, eat at home for a while and save money, get a second job at night on a cash register and save money (delivering pizzas, stocking shelves, and so on), or move into a cheap apartment for a while and save money, all to get a bigger down payment and get the credit card paid down or whatever ELSE you need to do...........dammit.


We don't OWE people houses. I *do* think that schools do a pathetic job about telling kids what they will need to do to get a home loan later. When they are teens in high school, so many of them can't wait to get to have their own apartment so they can bring girls/guys home for MTV-rap-video-fornication-sessions that they dont even think about those things.

PRCalDude said...

A pin-striped oompa-loompa in charge of billions in bogus mortgages - would you trust that man?

He should be forced to ride in the back of the bus from now on.

Henry Canaday said...

Of course, the lovely thing about having so many banks dependent on the Federal government for financial survival is that, in addition to avoiding political incorrectness, bankers now have another reason to not be entirely candid about why they took so much risk: fear of upsetting their necessary backers in Washington.

It is interesting that, after the (relatively) modest damage done by the dotcom bubble and financial jiggery-pokey of 1998-2000, Congress was eager to have the miscreants appear at hearings where they could be questioned by members of both parties on why they made the mistakes they did. I have heard of no cries for omnibus hearings on the causes of the Mortgage Meltdown.

Anonymous said...

My mother told me that when he worked in Florida he was asked to sit in the back of the bus.

If this didnt come from an unimpeachable source - what Angelo's sister says their mother said - I might suspect we were steering into the treacherous waters of a fake hate crime.

CJ said...

Speaking of other people's work that confirms your interpretations, may I point out this one in case you haven't seen it already:

Sorry, Folks, The CRA Really Did Require Crap Lending Standards


Those guys over at Clusterstock are on fire lately.

Richard Hoste said...

You know, the most militantly PC guy I ever met was an Italian who was as dark as a Pakistani. Maybe South Italians are bitter about being the only Europeans who by man on the street standard aren't white? Most Jews and even some Persians/Arabs are whiter than this guy in your article. And he's "European." It must drive him nuts!

Does anybody know the amount of negro blood in the South Italian population? Did all blacks who ever lived there since ancient times blend in?

HBD Books

Anonymous said...

A hundred years ago an ambitious, unscrupulous guy who looked like Mozilo would have tried to convince everyone that he was whiter than he actually was and that he came from a better (wealthier, etc.) family than he actually did.

In the current environment people like that downplay their whiteness (remember that whole thing about Sarah Palin's husband being 1/8th Upik or something?) and brag about how poor they were growing up. My parents were bigger losers than yours!

Who knows, maybe a hundred years from now guys like Mozilo will be trying to convince everyone how Chinese or Japanese they are.

And if our world is ever conquered by little green men...

Svigor said...

This is a large part of why I no longer call myself a White Nationalist. Ethnic nationalism leaves room for culture, and has a naturally more cohesive genetic unit. Pan-European sentiment is good, but WNism seems to elevate it out of all proportion and show hostility to intra-European particularism. The dirty secret is that multiculturalism was born as an intra-European cancer; the loyalty WNs would demand of the English for Sicilians (e.g.) and vice-versa is IMO too similar to the sentiment that got this whole ball rolling.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't really belong in this thread, but I'll just leave it here. An AP story on California's budget crisis and the effect on schools:

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090621/D98V7T001.html

Matt Welch at Reason does a good job of taking apart the budget numbers, but I wanted to focus on a particular paragraph:

The unprecedented budget cuts mark a new low for a once highly regarded public school system that began its decline in 1978, when voters approved Proposition 13, which undercut counties' ability to raise property taxes and generate revenue.

The decline in California's public schools compared to the rest of the country is a direct, foreseeable and obvious consequence of large-scale immigration from Mexico. But this obvious truth is not even hinted at in the article (apart from the obligatory reference to the Hispanic/black-white/Asian achievement gap).

Anonymous said...

We don't owe people who immigrated here 10 years ago anything other than a smile. In fact I would have to say they owe us.

I feel bad for Mazilo that none of his relatives fought at Bunker Hill. Get over it already.

SKT said...

"You know, the most militantly PC guy I ever met was an Italian who was as dark as a Pakistani."

Interesting anecdotal example from you and Mr. Sailer, but most Italians (or Eye-Italians, as folks in Middle America like to say) are distinctly un-PC folks, and more commonly known - especially in the NYC area - for being quite racist.

Silver said...

Oompa-Loompa, rofl.

Most Jews and even some Persians/Arabs are whiter than this guy in your article. And he's "European." It must drive him nuts!

Known in hbd circles as "OWD" -- off-white dilemma.

Svigor, that's why the whole ("pan-European") "WN" project is so dumb and doomed to fail. How can anyone dedicate himself wholeheartedly to a movement which can turn on him at the drop of a hat? (Though I don't see why you're bummed about Mozilo types. You claim to see "obvious" "middle eastern" ancestry in David Duchovny.)

Anonymous said...

"Does anybody know the amount of negro blood in the South Italian population? Did all blacks who ever lived there since ancient times blend in?"

I'll ask my dad, he's half Sicilian. Right after I watch True Romance...

-Guido

Svigor said...

Interesting anecdotal example from you and Mr. Sailer, but most Italians (or Eye-Italians, as folks in Middle America like to say) are distinctly un-PC folks, and more commonly known - especially in the NYC area - for being quite racist.

True, but that doesn't contradict the point (at least not the point I extracted above). One need not believe in PC across the board to use it strategically.

TGGP said...

Reportedly within Countrywide employees referred to minorities as "mud people" who were getting "ghetto loans". I don't think they were all quite the Kool-Aid drinkers you're making them out to be. My guess is that the business end was full of "bootleggers" who thought they could make a killing while mouthing the right "baptist" talk.

wake up said...

the so-called american wasp establishment was actually the most open and tolerant elite of any on the planet.......and that is why it was eventually overrun of course...

wasp =
white
anglo
saxon
protestant

from the beginning anglo-saxon was a marriage of tribes.....obviously....but the anglo-saxon qualification was never an absolute and the protestant qualification was never an absolute...

scottish
irish
welsh
dutch
german
swiss
austrian
swedish
danish
french
spanish
italian

plus other wealthy euro nationals were all allowed into the elite from the beginning in america.......it is absolutely bogus to claim that non anglo-saxons were barred from the elite class

scottish irish welsh peoples mainly do not consider themselves anglo-saxon at all....scottish and irish descendants were signers of the u.s. constitution and have always been with us....

wealthy catholics were accepted in america from the beginning.....in new york and elsewhere....baltimore was founded by catholic elites....some anglicization of surnames of non-english families was the main requirement...oh what a heavy burden to place on newcomers

yes white race was a firm requirement: as if any other elites on the planet embraced racial outsiders at the time......the entire discussion proves the give an inch and they take a mile i.e. you lose a mile rule: only the elites who open themselves up to outsiders get browbeaten as bigots for all eternity....while the elites who prohibit outsiders completely never face the critics because they do not allow the culture of critique to gain a foothold......witness the extreme ethnocentrism of various elites all around the world today....they all go about their business without accusations of bigotry and racism....saudi arabia to israel to egypt to china to japan to korea and many more it is totally unthinkable to allow outsiders to join the elite class in these countries........

wasp bashing as payback for supposed vicious anti-anglo-saxonism or anti-protestantism is driven by another big lie.....the only reason wasp bashing exists is because of the hyper tolerance of wasps...if the wasps were actually as intolerant as the mythology suggested then there would be no bashers in the country....the bashers actually never would've been allowed to step foot in the country in the first place....duh

fwiw the hollywood take: the italian-american scorcese made a great film about the 19th century nyc wasp elite and the last names of the families suggest a broad collection of euro nationalities i.e. the notion of a pure anglo-saxon only requirement for american elites status was and is mythology.....martin van buren was an early american president and he was no wasp.......

there was no anglo-saxon requirement for elite status in 1700's america.....

and there was no anglo-saxon requirement for elite status in 1800's new york or the northeast.....

the late 1800's early 1900's the gilded age families had plenty of non anglo-saxon names pointing to orgins in germany holland scotland france etc.......the perjorative wasp term was an invention and not a truthful depiction of the reality of the ethnic origins of the american elite...

the etymology of american last names is surprising: many quintessential american last names aren't what we think they are......jones is actually welsh and wilson is actually scottish and most smiths in america are anglicized schmidts of german heritage......all of these last names and many others today are wrongly assumed to be anglo-saxon or english...the now totally assimiliated german ancestry is the largest american ethnic group by percentage of the population....

now go out and bash you some wasps....get dem devil wasps...all the while knowing that you and your kind have always lived on a higher moral level of existence than those damn dirty wasps.....

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Speaking of Eye-Talians, at Countrywide, a common rumor was that management was biased in favor of Greeks and to a lesser extent Italians. One of the higher ups was Greek and supposedly had outright contempt for non-Greeks. Italians had the "Mediterranean work ethic" so they got a pass. It was supposed to be Ricci-like in the Northeast region and in the retail sales operations. Maybe in the brokerage business as well.

The call center loan officers, at least from what I saw, were 99.5% white men under the age of 30. How they escaped an EEOC smack down is beyond me. Well, actually not, I'm sure there were plenty of bribes. The the phone-loan centers the tokens stuck out like sore thumbs.

There were a few youngish minorities who served as VP of Community Relations, or Director of Minority Outreach or somesuch. They were 5 or 6 levels down the org chart from Angie, but were on a first name basis with him. We'd get the occasional email extolling the virtues of our diversity outreach.

I am Lugash.

patrick said...

Mr. Mozilo certainly is a person of color- albeit not one found in the natural world. He really does look like an oompa-loompa. Hopefully he will soon be wearing an outfit that matches his complexion :)

Mozilo is no different from Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay or any other scam artist throughout history, except that he figured out a way to use political correctness to keep people from asking questions.

I'm of Sicilian descent on my dad's side. Of course, on the rare occasions that I have thought about it, I have always considered Italians white(what else are they?)

But I've never considered southern Italians on the whole to be as white as, say, English, Irish, or Germans. People of those groups have never been mistaken for Mexicans (as occasionally happened to my dad growing up in southern California in the early 1960s.)

Anonymous said...

"Does anybody know the amount of negro blood in the South Italian population? Did all blacks who ever lived there since ancient times blend in?"

According to the data, there is none. The only European population with a non-trivial amount of sub-Saharan DNA is Portugal. Spain is probably second and England and France have a tiny amount(a small fraction of 1%) due to the slave trade. Other than that, there is essentially zero negroid ancestry in Europe.

patrick said...

Greeks and Italians tend to get along pretty well in the US. Similar cultures and origins have a lot to do with it.
One thing to note is that Italians from southern Calabria and eastern Sicily (such as my family) are basically Latinized Greeks.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Patrick: One thing to note is that Italians from southern Calabria and eastern Sicily (such as my family) are basically Latinized Greeks.

It was called Syracuse, and it produced the the smartest man who ever walked the face of the earth.

PRCalDude said...

Speaking of other people's work that confirms your interpretations, may I point out this one in case you haven't seen it already:

Sorry, Folks, The CRA Really Did Require Crap Lending Standards


People catching up to Steve.

Marc B said...

"kick the dead 'WASP establishment' horse, there seems to be an overt interest in maintaining the myth that were are some snooty WASPs"

This was less of a myth than when Mozillo was starting out than it is now. My father went to college on the GI bill and got the degree recommended to him by his supervisors and upper management for entry into bond sales, was a hard-working, ambitious Type A ready to start in the bond division of the bank he had been managing while in college.

Upon graduation, the bank president that had been leading him on, dismissed his entrance into the hallowed bond division upon graduation on the grounds that he didn't know any rich people and therefore would never be successful in bonds. Instead, he offered was offered a management position that wasn't much better than a sideways promotion.

The only difference between my dad and the others that got a crack at those jobs was class and ethnicity, and he had already proven himself while working there for years and earned promotions. He was from an Eastern European, working class family and neighborhood with a city college degree while the guys hired in bond sales were WASP's from well-connected families with degrees from prestigious institutions of higher learning. They obviously "knew" wealthy people.

He never used that as a excuse for failure and he was eventually extremely successful in another sales field, but that just the way things were back then. It did, however, sour him to the entire investment industry, but not WASPs. Let's just not view the insular past through today's multicultural prism.

code prosciutto said...

This may seem a little off subject, but the website commemorating the Chicago OLA (Our Lady of Angels) fire of December 1958 in which 92 and 5 nuns died, is -- to me -- an interesting study in ethnicity (as well as a tribute to the kids and the survivors.) The population of the Chicago neighborhood was largely Italian with east European, Irish and German. These white hoods were close knit and relatively low-crime. Looking at the classrooms of neatly dressed, orderly looking kids, I would be hard pressed to identify hardly any of them as non-white. oops--I don't mean BECAUSE they are well dressed and orderly, just referring to their faces. When there was some suspicion that the fire might have been set by anti-segregationists, it was pointed out in the papers that no Negro children attended the school. The fire was set, most likely, by a disturbed 10 year old pyromaniac whose name has not been divulged.
As a rule, the Italians blended in pretty well with other Catholic ethnics, once the initial wall was down. Certainly by the 1950s this was case, and most certainly these Italians were among those blamed for "white flight" as their neighborhoods were destroyed by block busting and eventually destruction of the American industrial base. There is a brief discussion of the this in some of the most recent posting on their message board, although that is not the focus of their website.
I went to a Catholic school and most of the southern Italians were distinguishable by their very dark hair and eyebrowns, and good tans at the end of the summer. Oddly some had very yellow hair--naturally so.
However, in the race-tense city i grew up in , there was absolutely no question (jokes about sizeable lips and dark skin aside) about the racian identity of Italians, at least in the minds of the vast majority of whites. Anyway, the popes were Italian, the famous religous paintings were Italian, Dante was italian, Latin was Italian. I have read (I welcome correction if I am wrong) that genetics seems to show that there is a strong semitic strain in the Italian population, dating back to the pre-Roman era (Eutruscans I think.)
This shows the absurdity of the "people of color" label.

Anonymous said...

MarcB:

Do you think a poor anglo saxon from appalachia or the backwoods of maine would have been treated any differently? As others have pointed out, it was a very open for an 'elite'.

RKU said...

Do you think a poor anglo saxon from appalachia or the backwoods of maine would have been treated any differently? As others have pointed out, it was a very open for an 'elite'.

Yes, exactly. Everyone knows that the snobby WASPs from rich, Ivy League, elite backgrounds were snobby. But that amounts to an extremely mild degree of ethnocentric bias.

Silver said...


Do you think a poor anglo saxon from appalachia or the backwoods of maine would have been treated any differently? As others have pointed out, it was a very open for an 'elite'.
-- quote

Ceteris paribus, sure he'd have a better shot. His accent/speech could hurt him but if he polished that up he'd have a much better chance.

Really, it's hardly surprising these companies considered it advantageous for employees to be connected to people with money or to at least be capable of making a good impression on such people.

patrick said...

I know about Syracuse.
There is very little "Negro" ancestry anywhere in Italy, but southern (and parts of central) Italy have significantly more Near Eastern and North African ancestry than most Europeans.
This is due to the Neolithic settlement from the fertile crescent, the migration of Greeks (also descended from Neolithic migrants to Europe), and historical migrations by Phoenicians, Etruscans and Arabs.
Most southern Italians cluster genetically with Greeks and Armenians (people from the Aegean and Asia Minor) and Jews (European/Middle Eastern mixes) more than northern and western Europeans.

Rod. said...

"Italians had the "Mediterranean work ethic" so they got a pass."

That's a good one.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to see what Mazilo's wife(s) look like. A little latin guy like Mazilo probably found the tallest, blondest chick he could find. These guys go nuts over readheads.