Former Countrywide and PennyMac executive Stanford L. Kurland passed away last week from COVID-19. The Wall Street Journal wrote about Kurland’s career focusing on his conflicts with Countrywide Financial founder, Angelo Mozilo. While Mozilo was a scrappy and flashy entrepreneur from the Bronx, Kurland was a polished former accountant from Los Angeles. Kurland famously left Countrywide before the company started its precipitous decline and was eventually sold to Bank of America. Kurland went on to found PennyMac Loan Services which today has a market cap of about $5 Billion. Like most stories about Countrywide, which at one time was the largest mortgage lender in America, the WSJ story portrayed Mozilo as selfish and misguided, while Kurland was portrayed as smart and calculating. I’m sure Stanford Kurland was a good man, and his success in the mortgage industry speaks for itself, but my experience with both men was different. Mozilo was supportive of NAHREP from day one. In 2000, he was the biggest name in the housing industry, yet he personally attended NAHREP’s kick-off event in March of 2000, not as a keynote speaker, but as a quiet observer. I was impressed by that. Mozilo gave me his private cell phone number after the event, and over the years he responded to every email and never turned down a proposal from me. He told me that when he started Countrywide, Latinos were his most loyal customers, and he will never forget it. Conversely, when Stanford Kurland started PennyMac, I reached out to him several times and never received a response. Granted PennyMac was largely a B2B correspondent lender at the time, yet I worked with several similar companies over the years. Kurland was never interested in anything we did at NAHREP. That doesn’t make him bad, it’s just a fact. Even though Stanford Kurland helped build Countrywide, he was never tainted by its eventual failure, and Mozilo became the image and scapegoat for the entire mortgage meltdown. Because of my personal experience, it always seemed a bit unfair to me. RIP, Stanford Kurland.
Almost everyone, including Democrats, were expecting last Tuesday’s midterm election results to heavily favor Republicans. Many predicted a “red wave” where they would pick up 50-60 seats in the House and 3-4 in the Senate. Joe Rogan said the red wave that is coming will be like the elevator doors opening in the horror film The Shining.
When we invited Gary Vaynerchuk to NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE in 2021, I was mostly relying on input from others. Several members loved his content, but the little I saw online left me underwhelmed. However, I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation at our event, particularly his comments about toxic employees, which he says to dump with impunity.
Selling during a downturn required a more strategic approach, but the opportunities for growth and expansion are available to the savviest of companies. Here are some of the best ideas I’ve read about.
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors said “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!”. The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” A few days later the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out “Your horse has returned and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” and the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”