Countrywide reports first loss of $1.3 billion

Countrywide Financial Corp. reported Friday its first quarterly loss in 25 years. Countrywide’s mortgage-banking business suffered a $1.3 billion loss in the latest quarter. Since Countrywide is one of the largest lenders in the United States the development is viewed as insight into the actual status of mortgage lending and the subprime crisis. The company said they expect to return to profitability. Many of you will remember when Countrywide said they had plenty of cash and would be in great shape as the crisis started to surface.

Putting the best optomistic face on a developing disaster is expected from most businesses. Now we hear calls for Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo’s resignation, amid other suggestions. I suppose it has been a bad year for risk analysts, including those that never saw the problem until it was unstoppable.