Reporting from Washington and Orange County —
A congressional investigation has found that Countrywide Financial Corp. made 173 preferential mortgage loans to employees of housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which purchased many of the company's loans.
The mortgages were made as part of Countrywide's VIP program, known informally as "Friends of Angelo" for former Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo R. Mozilo. The program offered discounted rates and other perks.
Previous investigations found that VIP loans were given to some influential Washington players, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Franklin Raines.
Employees of Fannie Mae received 153 of the preferential mortgages, and Freddie Mac employees received 20, said California Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating the program.