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Conrad Makes the Next Chapter in ‘The Two Americas of Credit’

Today Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told NPR that - surprise - he now understands that he got a special deal on a Countrywide Financial Corp. loan, although he didn’t realize it at the time of his refinancing. Conrad, along with Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., were named in a Portfolio magazine piece as additional “Friends of Angelo,” a group of powerful people who received preferential treatment on their Countrywide mortgage loans. Johnson resigned last week as a veep vetter for Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama over his role in the loan controversy.

Both Conrad and Dodd have denied seeking or receiving favorable terms on their loans. But Conrad said that Monday night he finally saw a Countrywide e-mail documenting how former CEO Angelo Mozilo instructed a loan officer to waive the standard 1 point fee on Conrad’s refinance loan for his Delaware beach house. Of course, he was shocked, Conrad told NPR:

“I don’t pretend to know what happened. I find it very, very curious that they would supposedly cut me a deal and never tell me,” he said.

Maybe more curious is why Conrad would be so unaware, considering what Paul Muolo, executive editor of National Mortgage News, then told the program. He said that it’s standard practice in the mortgage industry to give special treatment to important people, and that plenty of mortgage companies have VIP lists like the Friends of Angelo. “This has been going on for years,” he said, noting that “it isn’t really that big of a secret.”

From Muolo:

“These kind of favors aren’t exclusive to the mortgage industry. It’s a way of doing business in America,” he said.

Welcome to another chapter in The Two Americas of Credit.

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