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Angelo Mozilo and his doomed mortgage machine

Angelo Mozilo and his doomed mortgage machine

"He was the superstar," said James Rhodes, who joined Countrywide in 2005 to lead its packaging of commercial real estate loans into securities that could be sold to investors.

"We were leading the charge to make America great again, before that was even a thing," he said.

Yet Mozilo's quest to dominate the mortgage market led to a race to the bottom at Countrywide. The company repeatedly relaxed its borrowing standards, lending to people with weaker credit scores who sometimes didn't even have jobs.

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