Don't Believe What We Say

How's this for chutzpah?

A division of Countrywide Financial Corp., once the the nation's largest mortgage lender before it was sold to Bank of America at a bargain-basement price last year, faces scores of lawsuits over its subprime lending practices.

Considering that, what Countrywide's lawyers have been saying in a New Hampshire court is pretty interesting.

Gary and Jessica Raymonds of New Hampshire say they lost their home after Countrywide told them for months that they could modify their loan. Meanwhile, the lending giant has insisted in ads, to regulators and even to Congress that it is trying to rework as many home loans as possible.

In court, however, the lending giant's attorneys have been describing those efforts as "mere commercial puffery."

"It's breathtaking," attorney Mary Frances Stewart of Concord, N.H., said of Countrywide's response to the lawsuit she and co-counsel Krista Atwater filed in Merrimack County Superior Court. In its response, "Countrywide is saying, 'We don't have any obligation or even necessarily the intention of actually modifying these loans,' and yet they're representing that they do."

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