Thursday, February 28, 2008
Almost a week ago, word came that ailing mortgage lender Countrywide Financial was planning to conduct their "ski trip for bankers", as planned, at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch ski resort in tony Avon, Colorado.
Well, bankers, put away those skis - the trip's been canceled.
The New York Times reports that, while the weather and ski conditions may be ideal, the mortgage lending industry is decidedly not - bankers eating $105 Kobe steaks and retiring to $725 rooms courtesy of Angelo Mozilo just doesn't look as foreclosures and layoffs mount (90,000 of the former and 11,000 of the latter, according to the Times).
In the statement, the company said that “in light of recent events” it had decided to cancel all gatherings with business partners and clients for the rest of the year, moving quickly after being criticized for planning such an extravagant event.The photo above is from this Time Magazine report where Countrywide founder Angelo Mozilo was not voted Man of the Year, but was one of the "People that Mattered" in 2007.
The three-night gathering, which was to include business meetings as well as skiing, drinking and sampling expensive meals like $140 caviar and Kurobuta pork osso bucco at the Spago restaurant, had already drawn negative press. “Let ’Em Eat Kobe Steak,” a headline in The New York Post sneered on Saturday.
Countrywide has held the gathering every year for its correspondent lenders, which make the loans and sell them to the company. And companies treating business partners to high-priced junkets is nothing new in the corporate world. But this year’s event coincides with a continued crisis in the mortgage markets.