I'm skimming The Wall Street Journal on the morning of February 22 when a headline stops me cold: “Countrywide Treats Bankers to Ski-Resort Trip.” Ouch. This is exactly the kind of damaging publicity that financial services companies dread. The article portrays troubled mortgage giant Countrywide — which was recently purchased by Bank of America Corp. for less than a fifth of what its market value had been a year earlier — as operating like a fat-cat company with little regard for its ...

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