A rush to pull out cash
Worried about the stability of mortgage giant Countrywide Financial, depositors crowd branches

E. Scott Reckard and Annette Haddad
L.A. Times
Friday, August 17, 2007

Anxious customers jammed the phone lines and website of Countrywide Bank and crowded its branch offices to pull out their savings because of concerns about the financial problems of the mortgage lender that owns the bank.

Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest home-loan company in the nation, sought Thursday to assure depositors and the financial industry that both it and its bank were fiscally stable. And federal regulators said they weren't alarmed by the volume of withdrawals from the bank.

The mortgage lender said it would further tighten its loan standards and make fewer large mortgages. Those moves could make it harder to get a home loan and further depress the housing market in California and other states.

The rush to withdraw money -- by depositors that included a former Los Angeles Kings star hockey player and an executive of a rival home-loan company -- came a day after fears arose that Countrywide Financial could file for bankruptcy protection because of a worsening credit crunch stemming from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.

Full story: http://www.latimes.com/business/printedition/la-fi-countrywide17aug17,0,5944637.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-business

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