Countrywide's (CFC) PR Blunder

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"You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. But, you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."–Abe Lincoln

Countrywide Financial (CFC) has decided to treat its remaining employees as if they were boobs and morons. The embattled mortgage company has hired PR operation Burson-Marsteller to begin "a PR blitz aimed at repairing its reputation. And it starts inside the company," according to The Wall Street Journal.

The people remaining at CountryWide are being asked to forget that their CEO has sold tens of millions of dollars in stock. A lot of that heppened just before the sub-prime disaster began. And, the 12,000 people who are likely to be fired. It’s OK. Countrywide’s remaining work force can wear wrist bands that say "Protect Our House".

Burson put together a transcript that was sent around the firm and says that employees are expected to sign a pledge to "demonstrate their commitment to our efforts," That is happening in the face of a New York Times article in which Senator Chuck Schumer is quoted as saying “Countrywide is trying to say they are doing workouts, but they are doing them with as little financial sacrifice for the company and as little effort as they can." The paper has also called into question the company’s lending practices.

The remaining employees at Countrywide probably don’t want management to spend a lot of mony on a PR firm. It would have been nicer if the cash had gone to protect a few more jobs.

Bad PR usually back-fires.

Douglas A. McIntyre