Report: Countrywide Won Influence With Loans

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The former Countrywide Financial Corp. made hundreds of discount loans to buy influence with people on Capitol Hill, according to a House report being released Thursday. Countrywide's subprime loans helped start the nation's foreclosure crisis.


NPR's business news starts with the back story on VIP loans.


WERTHEIMER: A former mortgage company, Countrywide, used a VIP loan program to buy influence with members of Congress, staffers and other officials, including a number at Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage giant central to Countrywide's business. That the bottom line of a new report out today from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.


The report says until the housing market crashed, Countrywide's effort to build good will on Capital Hill worked. It said the failed company became a trusted adviser in Congress and was consulted with Congress considered reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and also considered unfair lending practices.

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