Magazine article American Banker

Countrywide Talks Growth -- Anywhere but California

Magazine article American Banker

Countrywide Talks Growth -- Anywhere but California

Article excerpt

Countrywide Financial Corp., one of California's largest private employers, expects to more than triple its work force over the course of this decade.

Given Countrywide's view of its home state's regulatory climate, it seems the vast majority of its employees will be working somewhere other than California once that expansion is over.

Angelo R. Mozilo, the chairman and chief executive, said that unless things change, a company that has already been targeting other states for expansion will scout them even more.

"I am sad to say that California, where Countrywide has been headquartered for more than 30 years, does not provide a business climate that is conducive to cost control or business productivity," Mr. Mozilo said during a shareholder meeting Thursday at the company's Calabasas headquarters.

He cited rising worker compensation premiums, overtime laws that limit the flexibility of employers, and a legal system that he called "oppressive to business."

Countrywide, the third-largest originator and servicer of home mortgages, is not the only financial services company complaining.

Wells Fargo & Co. recently fought a court battle with the state's Department of Corporations over an odd law that prohibits lenders from charging interest on a mortgage before the deed is recorded; a federal court last month granted a permanent injunction in the San Francisco company's favor. Meanwhile, state legislators are trying to pass a privacy bill that the industry opposes.

Mr. Mozilo said that Countrywide is at forefront of those pushing for legislative changes, and he urged shareholders to join the effort. By the company's own count, it is among California's 15 largest private employers, and it expects to grow to nearly 100,000 employees by the end of the decade from 30,000 today.

"While Countrywide remains dedicated to maintaining its existing presence in California, we will be forced to expand outside of the state in order to keep our costs at a competitive level," the CEO said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.