Organizational alignment definition for Countrywide Home Loans

Essay by RaenanaBA, January 2010

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Running head: Organizational alignment DefinitionOrganizational alignment DefinitionESSAY 2ContentsSubject PageIntroduction…………..……………………………………………………………….……..3Information on Countrywide .…………………………………………………………...…..3Internal Environment………………………………………………………………………..3External Environment.............................................................................................................4SWOT Analysis………………………………… …………………………………………..5Strengths………………………………………………………………………...5Weaknesses……………………………………………………………………...6Opportunities…………………………………………………………………....6Threats…………………………………………………………………………..6External/Internal Alignment-Enhancements………………………………………………………………......7Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………......7References…………………………………………………………………………………...8IntroductionCountrywide Financial has quite an extensive financial portfolio. Countrywide Financial has interests in mortgage banking, capital markets, global operations and financial banking. The biggest financial market that countrywide is involved in is the housing market segment. "Mortgage Banking, which originates purchases, securitizes, and services mortgages. In 2006 Countrywide financed 20% of all mortgages in the United States, at a value of about 3.5% of United States GDP, a proportion greater than any other single mortgage lender"(Countrywide Home Loans, 2008). The following paper will go over this segment of the company as it is the largest and the one I am most familiar with.

Internal EnvironmentThe loan administration department does not have one single vision or mission. Instead of a mission statement there is "Loan Administration Principles". A culture in the company that is regarded as the only way a person should think and act at work.

Often times the culture is relied upon when there is an issue at work. The principles consist of 7 concepts. The first one is "Demonstrate Integrity"; This characteristic is what an employee brings to Countrywide. This shows an initial alignment with the company. The second one included as a characteristic is "Be a Positive Influence". Employees are to remain positive at all times. The third, fourth and fifth principles are considered skill based that can be trained. "Be an agent of change", "Measure everything", and "Know the Details". These skills are all most seen to be a joke at the company. These three principles always take the place when choices that are being made by management are not logical. Often, details of how to do a job are not conveyed to the people that need to know the specific information and then later scorned for not knowing. The last two principles are "Maintain Customer Focus" and "Envision Growth". I believe these are the most important principles. Without good customer relationships a company could not be successful. Every company must look for new ideas and strategies to maintain at its current rate and also grow.

The primary culture statement is "We can service the American Dream". The American dream is considered ownership of a house, land, property. This aligns and links the 7 Loan Administrations principles one specific goal. This is not a mission statement but something that can guide employees in their values.

External EnvironmentThere can be four different levels at which we examine the external environment. The first one is the general environment. The general housing market right now is in a slump. Houses are no longer being appraised as high as they used to be. Homeowners are now finding that they paid all most double then what the house was worth. The industrial environment is suffering significantly because of the loan products offered and often pushed on new buyers. Adjustable loans were pushed on low income families that did not know the negative affects of the loan. More often then not, mortgage companies were offering loans without even checking a person's proof of income. Disposable income has decreased significantly and the rate of default among these high risk loans is now increasing; leading to a mortgage meltdown.

"A strategic group consists of a cluster of firms within an industry that tend to adoptcommon strategies of technological leadership, quality standards, prices, distributionchannels, and customer service" (Kerin, Berkowitz, Harley, Rudelus pg.163). Countrywide Home Loans set themselves apart from other companies by having standardized training and customer service techniques. Customer service is one aspect of the company that was excelled at and trained on, in great detail. The focus for each employee is customer service and satisfaction. Benchmarking strategic group is close to competitor analysis. Countrywide Home Loans (CHL) consistently compared themselves to other companies. In fact, CHL serviced mortgages from other companies. Other companies were confident that CHL was well known for its expertise in servicing mortgage loans. Technological advances have set CHL ahead of the rest. They have created computer programs that specifically are used for CHL. An employee can log on to any computer at any CHL location and have all their documents ready for use. Bank of America recently purchased Countrywide Financial and all of its subsidiaries. Bank of America is converting many of its file to this system that CHL has, as it is owned and only used by CHL.

There has been legal action against CHL as well. Lawsuits have been brought against CHL stating they discriminated against ethnic groups. They were accused of convincing some members of ethnics groups into high interest rate loans.

SWOT AnalysisA SWOT analysis is "A strategic management tool to evaluate the firm, which is accomplished by identifying its strengths and weaknesses and identifying its opportunities and threats" (Kerin, Berkowitz, Harley, Rudelus 2006). We excel in the customer service area. We also excel in servicing loans, this includes collecting late payments and helping mortgagors if they are unable to make a payment with payment arrangements. CHL does extensive background checks on each employee. The culture of CHL provides a positive work environment. Bank of America just acquired CHL and thus improving CHL in its entirety.

There are many weaknesses in CHL. CHL most vulnerable part is the default rate on the subprime loans. This default rate has led to the steady decline rate we have seen for purchasing of homes. The foreclosure rate is also at an all time high. The actions from CHL in the past are now dictating its current position. Countrywide has been purchased by Bank of America and hopefully this will bring some needed change to the company.

There are many opportunities that CHL can capitalize on. One of these opportunities is the current market. The housing economy has been in a downward slope. The market will not start to improve until the entire portfolio of adjustable rate mortgage loans are out of the system. We have to get all of the foreclosures out of the market before there can be a significant improvement or at least show that there is a marked decrease in foreclosure rates. Right now the lifestyle trends have also created a negative impact on the housing market. Households are no longer spending as much. There is also a big market for apartment housing. This is something that CHL can look into. Diversification is important to any company that needs to survive in a difficult market.

There are a few threats to Countrywide Home Loans. There are the political effects. There is more scrutiny on the loan practices that CHL engaged in. There have been lawsuits filed because of unfair lending practices. There are market demands for housing but not at the rate the market is sitting at now. Because of the acquisition of CHL by Bank of America, many people have faced layoffs. Bank of America stepped in at the right time allowing for a sustainable financial backing. The economy posses the greatest risk. People are not spending and buying like they used to. This does create an opportunity for apartment complexes as many Americans are not buying houses.

External/Internal Alignment-Enhancing AlignmentThe internal alignment is not aligned with external environment. CHL is not working in ways that would benefit the company, employees, stockholders or the customers. The acquisition was important for Bank of America to expand their portfolio. This also helped the mortgage industry in such a difficult time. Mortgage and banking companies continue to declare bankruptcy or have some sort of bailout by the United States Government. CHL can change the way they do business and the mortgage products they have. They need to tailor new mortgages for home buyers. Existing mortgage loans need to be modified in accordance with state and federal laws. This is the only way CHL will decrease default rates.

ConclusionIn conclusion, Countrywide Home Loans has many opportunities in this difficult market. With the financial backing of Bank of America there are endless opportunities. Employees can be a good source of ideas. CHL has many talented employees. Bank of America is a diverse company that now includes CHL. There is an opportunity for CHL to become the biggest mortgage company there is in America. Not only the biggest mortgage company but the best.

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Countrywide home loans. (2008). Retrieved September 18, 2008. Retrieved from www.countrywide.com.

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