Countrywide Expands Commitment to $1 Trillion in Home Loans to Minority and Lower-Income Borrowers

- We House America Challenge Leads the Industry in Affordable Lending -

Jan 14, 2005, 00:00 ET from Countrywide Financial Corporation

    ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., a
 national leader in expanding homeownership across America, today announced an
 extension of its We House America(R) initiative to fund $1 trillion in home
 loans to minorities and lower-income borrowers and communities through 2010.
     "The $1 Trillion We House America Challenge, expanded from $600 billion
 announced in 2003, embodies Countrywide's long-standing commitment to lead the
 mortgage industry in closing the homeownership gap for minority and
 lower-income families and communities," said Countrywide Financial Corporation
 Chairman and CEO Angelo Mozilo, who announced the initiative at the
 International Builders' Show in Orlando.
     "For several years now, Countrywide has been a leading lender to
 minorities and lower-income households," Mozilo said.  "I am proud of our
 lending record and pleased to announce the expansion of our lending commitment
 to $1 trillion.  The We House America program has already placed 2.4 million
 families into homes, and we expect to nearly triple that number by 2010."
     To help reach the $1 trillion funding goal, Countrywide will build on its
 existing comprehensive programs and policies that have made it the industry
 leader.  The company will continue to develop innovative programs emphasizing
 non-traditional lending criteria, thus helping to address challenges Mozilo
 has made to the industry, such as calling for improved underwriting systems
 that eliminate the over-reliance on traditional credit scores that can mask a
 borrower's true credit-worthiness.  Countrywide is already responding to this
 challenge with the launch last year of its successful Optimum Loan program.
 That program addresses major obstacles for hard-to-qualify borrowers, such as
 allowing for non-occupant co-borrowers, other secondary income, and pooled
 funds for down payments.
     The company is also increasing its support for financial literacy
 programs.  Expanded access to high quality financial literacy training can
 alleviate one of the chief obstacles to homeownership, a lack of knowledge and
 understanding of credit and financial responsibility.  The program will be
 announced next week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in
 Washington D.C.
     "To ensure that this objective is achieved, we intend to expand upon our
 existing partnerships with specific community groups," Mozilo said.  "We have
 also called upon one of our esteemed directors, the Honorable Henry Cisneros,
 former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a former mayor of San
 Antonio.  Henry will put to use his long and respected experience as an
 advocate for affordable housing who understands the benefits to communities of
 homeownership.  He has graciously agreed to lend his support and expertise to
 this effort with the goal of assuring Countrywide's continued leadership in
 innovative, responsible and flexible mortgage products."
     Secretary Cisneros said of the initiative, "Countrywide's $1 trillion
 commitment is very tangible proof of this company's commitment to fair,
 affordable and responsible lending.  This company is leading the industry in
 closing the homeownership gap through ambitious lending commitments,
 innovative programs, and a strong corporate culture that constantly looks for
 ways to improve.  This is an exciting initiative for Countrywide and I am
 looking forward to being part of this important effort."
     Countrywide formalized its commitment to affordable lending more than a
 decade ago by launching We House America, an initiative to provide increased
 homeownership opportunities for all Americans.  The previous commitment
 covered the years of 2001 through 2010 and has provided $341 billion of home
 loans as of December 31, 2004.  The company is now extending the goal to
 $1 trillion by 2010.
     About Countrywide Financial Corporation
     Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation is a member of the S&P
 500 and Fortune 500.  Through its family of companies, Countrywide provides
 mortgage banking and diversified financial services in domestic and
 international markets.  Mortgage banking businesses include loan production
 and servicing principally through Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., which
 originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services residential loans.
 Also included in Countrywide's mortgage banking segment is the LandSafe group
 of companies that provide loan closing services.  Diversified financial
 services encompass capital markets, banking, insurance, and global, largely
 through the activities of Countrywide Capital Markets, a mortgage-related
 investment banker; Countrywide Bank, a division of Treasury Bank, NA, a
 banking entity offering customers CDs, money market accounts, and home loan
 products; Balboa Life & Casualty Group, whose companies are national providers
 of property, liability, and life insurance; Balboa Reinsurance, a captive
 mortgage reinsurance company; and Global Home Loans, a U.K. mortgage banking
 joint venture in which Countrywide holds a majority interest.
     For more information about the Company, visit Countrywide's website at

SOURCE Countrywide Financial Corporation