- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo received a compensation package last year valued at more than $22.1 million, a sharp pay cut for the beleaguered mortgage lender’s longtime chief, according to an analysis of a regulatory filing.

But the pay package was a fraction of the $121.5 million in stock options Mr. Mozilo cashed out in 2007, a year Countrywide posted a loss of over $700 million and saw its stock fall 80 percent from its peak.

Mr. Mozilo, 70, was paid a salary of $1.9 million in 2007, according to a preliminary filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

The Calabasas, Calif.-based company said it plans to file a proxy statement later this year.

Mr. Mozilo did not receive a bonus or non-equity incentive plan compensation, which was pegged to specific performance targets Mr. Mozilo failed to meet, the company said.

Still, he received stock and option awards that had an estimated value of about $20 million when granted. He also got other compensation valued at $176,513, including $44,454 for personal use of company aircraft, $31,238 to pay for tax and investment advice, $23,755 for a car allowance, and $48,377 for charitable contributions.

In addition, Mr. Mozilo received preferential earnings on deferred compensation totaling $42,298, according to the filing.

The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives’ salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the SEC.

All told, Mr. Mozilo’s executive’s compensation package totaled $22,118,887, down nearly 49 percent from $42,994,306 in 2006.

The decline in pay from 2006 reflects the sharp downturn that rocked Countrywide and other mortgage lenders last year as the housing bubble burst, leading to a spike in mortgage defaults that ended up choking credit across financial markets.Countrywide struggled to stay afloat as loan defaults piled up and demand for its mortgages on Wall Street dried up, leaving the company scrambling for capital to fund new loans.For 2007, the lender posted a loss of $704 million versus a profit of $2.7 billion in 2006. Revenue last year plunged 47 percent to $6.1 billion.

While the housing market crash took its toll on Countrywide and its shareholders, Mr. Mozilo cashed out $121.5 million in stock options in 2007.

The SEC has been scrutinizing the timing of Mr. Mozilo’s stock sales.

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