Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Quote - Corporate America

I'm reading Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera's book "All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis", which is fantastic. They really stick it to the subprime originators, Fannie and Freddie, and the ratings agencies. One of the passages I was reading yesterday caught my eye:
"The people who are propelled corporate America are the guys who said yes to an idea that worked", he [former Countrywide President Stan Kurland] later told a friend. "The guys who said no to a big failure--there's no list for that. That's why we end up with bubbles." (pg. 142)
Isn't it so true? The people who get promoted are the people who ran with an idea in the face of doubters. The world is littered with skeptics - the people who say "that can't be done" - and the quickest way to get on the boss's radar and curry favor is to be positive, wage conflicts against coworkers, and win. Except in this instance, the "victory" for the man who went against the skeptical Kurland (most likely David Sambol) which pushed Countrywide into higher-risk subprime loans only amounted to short-term gains. Kurland's no's eventually led him to leave the company in late 2006. The yes-man was "right" for less than a year as the subprime market began to sour in the fall of 2007. From Wikipedia:
In the third quarter of 2007, subprime ARMs making up only 6.8% of USA mortgages outstanding also accounted for 43% of the foreclosures which began during that quarter.[21] By October 2007, approximately 16% of subprime adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) were either 90-days delinquent or the lender had begun foreclosure proceedings, roughly triple the rate of 2005.[22] By January 2008, the delinquency rate had risen to 21%[23] and by May 2008 it was 25%.[24]

No comments:

Post a Comment