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Countrywide Under Promontory Review

Spurred by the SEC and Senator Schumer, Countrywide has hired the respected financial consultancy to review its corporate governance policies

Bowing to pressure from big shareholders, Countrywide Financial (CFC) has invited outsiders to assess the mess inside. In a November letter to one major investor, the embattled mortgage giant revealed that its board has hired Promontory Financial Group, a consultancy filled with former regulators, to review the company's corporate governance policies.

As the nation's biggest mortgage company, Countrywide has gotten bludgeoned by falling home sales, bone-dry capital markets, and rising default rates on its existing loans. In October the Securities & Exchange Commission started investigating big stock sales by insiders, notably Chief Executive and co-founder Angelo Mozilo. On Nov. 26, Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on federal regulators to look into $51 billion in advances made by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Atlanta to Countrywide.