June 17th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Dodd: No special deals from Countrywide

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.dodd.gi.jpg caption=" Dodd is an Obama supporter."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Chris Dodd says he got no sweetheart deals from embattled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp., telling reporters Tuesday that he would reject "out of hand" any hint of preferential treatment.

"At no point did anyone ever suggest to me that we were going to get some deal out of Countrywide," said Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a former Democratic presidential contender. "I never spoke to anybody except loan officers - never any higher-ups or any senior people within Countrywide."

Last week, Portfolio magazine reported that Countrywide - one of the companies accused of fueling the subprime mortgage crisis - gave favorable mortgage rates to Dodd. A similar allegation forced the head of Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential search team, Jim Johnson, to step down last week.

Obama has criticized the mortgage company for its lending practices. But Republicans had been hammering Johnson since The Wall Street Journal reported on June 7 that he received a good deal on a mortgage from Countrywide because of his friendship with Angelo Mozilo, the company's CEO.

Dodd, an Obama supporter who has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate, said he would fully cooperate with any investigation.

The Connecticut senator said he sought out Countrywide in 2003 in order to refinance his two homes - one in his home state of Connecticut, the other in Washington.

He said he received a 5-year, adjustable-rate mortgage at 4.25 percent for his home on Capitol Hill and a 10-year ARM at 4.5 percent for his home in Connecticut.

He said that like millions of other Americans, he was shopping around for the best mortgage refinancing deal.

"If anyone had ever suggested to me that somehow I was going to get preferential treatment because I was a United States senator, that would have ended the relationship immediately. Terminated. Immediately - never do business with that organization again."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Chris Dodd
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Lynn

    I wish I could have received the same deal. Do you think the American people believe he only talked to Loan Officers. Yea sure.

    June 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Frank

    If you think this story matters, then google.....

    " Keating five"

    Let's hear what McBush..... uh oops...McCain has to say about his Saving & Loan involevments during first Bush regime!!!!

    June 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Ian

    My rate is 4.875 and we bought our house back then also. What's the problem?

    June 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. R.I.F.

    Here we go again CNN.

    This has nothing to do with Obama but you mentioned him three times in this article. I guess Obama's proposal to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the rich has you overpaid news people nervous.

    June 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Cynthia

    In most cases Senator Dodd is rich and has great credit so he was able to get the best rates offered by the company.

    June 17, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Bob

    Dem or GOP,, too many of these guys are given breaks not available to the regular guy. Be it slaps on the wrist for their criminal conduct or cool perks from corporate America,, it undermines one's confidence in our government.

    June 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Jim

    The fact he doesn't understand it was a deal the avg. person would not be given is a testement to how much he's out of touch. This guy is WEAK!!.

    June 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Rick PA

    Alot of people got low motgages. Some had good credit and some were told the had good credit. That is the issue with the predatory lending. It's a non-issue.

    June 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. fafa

    leave Dodd alone, a very honest man. I believe him

    June 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Mark Jensen

    Bob, Do your homeowork, it is not hard to go onto to Google and see historical rates, you will see these rates were normal for that time period. If you were not getting these rates quoted to you, you are not as described in your comment, or you was dealing with a broker or loan officer that was trying to make money off of you.

    June 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Pat, San Diego

    "Bad Karma" for Dodd.

    Dodd may have to be on sideline for a while now.

    June 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. WINNER

    obama has poor judgement when it comes down to picking people of good character, but he wants to talk about everybody else's judgement. he needs to work on improving his own judgement.

    June 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Michigan for Obama

    Some people – and journalists – really need to educate themselves how the mortgage industry works...I am no one special but do pay my bills on time with an excellent credit rating...I have the same re-mortgage interest rate as Senator Dodd...just that simple...this is a non-story...

    June 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Please be advised that there are other bloggers out there posting under my good name and its making me angry. Its causing me to go crazy and make false accusations against Mr. Axelrod that are completely unfounded. Its causing me to still operate under the delusion that somehow Hillary was cheated out of the nomination when we all know that she got beat fair and square. I know that I need to come to grips with my candidate losing the nomination and that I need to support Obama in November.

    Obama '08

    June 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. kayla

    republicans' need to get a life . they have nothing to say or offer america. out with the old in with the new.

    June 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. DJ, LA, CA

    Everybody seeks favorable lending terms. So what? It's not like he got a free house or 0% financing.

    June 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. William, from Cali!

    So if he did, he isn't by himself.............the "TANK" is probably close to full with others, with sweet deals from this Company. Expose them, too!!!!!!

    June 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. R. Cooper

    True. Countrywide provided many homeowners with low rate mortgages not just the Senators. Back off Obama's supporters. No matter who is on his team, he will still beat McCain in November.

    June 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Red

    4.25 and 4.5 seem very rates but absolutely within normal limits for ARMs in 2003. Nothing fishy at all. End of story.

    June 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. Brian Knoxville, Tn

    i have a man-crush on barack obama.his graciousness makes me love him,deeply.his policies are spot-on,and i would urge all republicans ,independents,and former hillary supporters,to join me in voting for this beautiful man whom i love.

    June 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  21. Iam4mycountry/Washington

    Wasn't the whole problem with the subprime mortgage lending that they (mortgage companies) were giving Low rate (arm) mortgages to everyone? The problem came when all the arms (adjustable rate mortgages) rates adjusted up (usually it was 5 years) and people could not pay the new "adjusted" mortgage payments. i even heard about mortgages that you only had to pay the monthly interest (very low percentage rate) payment and nothing on the principle. (i wont even go in to how stupid that was) I would give this mortgage thing a rest. Lots of people borrowed from "Countywide" Not eveyone is Mortgage Savvy!

    June 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    with all the CDOs that were selling like hotcakes thanks to the Financial Modernization Act, there is NO WAY to control who holds your mortgage!

    i am soooo sick of the GOP with their DIRTY, cheating, lying campaigns. we are ALL on to you, repugs, we all know McCON cant run on the issues so you resort to your usual cheating and lying. you are DISGUSTING!!!


    June 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. rw in ct

    wow, that's two already...johnson, dodd, who's next. so much for your reelection senator dodd....Obama is political poison.

    country before party.....vote McCain
    PUMA08 all the way to Denver.

    June 17, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. Iam4mycountry

    The only way the GOP thinks they can win this Election is to disenfranchise everyone regarding Obama. If they can get enough people to believe what they say, they might have a change. The GOP will twist anything. I swear if Obama said the sky was blue they would find something wrong with that too.

    June 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. Ryan

    I purchased my first home in 2003 and took out a 7-year balloon mortgage at 4 3/8 percent through Waterfield Financial. My credit was fairly good with a Beacon score around 720 and rates were low so I got a good deal.

    I am guessing the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee has a better credit score than I did at the age of 23. This seems like a lot to do about nothing. I'm sorry you can't pay your mortgages, but it's not the bank's fault. If they could cure stupid, they would have quit the banking practice along time ago!

    June 17, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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