Perry then emailed Robert Feinberg, a Countrywide loan officer who dealt with V.I.P. borrowers: "Can you please handle this? 0.5 off. No garbage fees."
Once Feinberg completed the paperwork on Jones, the lawyer borrowed $101,800 in February 2003. Countrywide waived five-eighths of a point, or about $625. Senate rules bar members and staff from knowingly accepting gifts of more than $100; gifts include loans on terms not available to the general public.
Jones acknowledges being told that he was in the V.I.P. program. But he says his interest rate was average or slightly higher and that he's shocked to learn of his discount. "I thought I was just getting great service," he says. "I didn't know there was a shaving of points."
Former Fannie Mae vice president Robert Sanborn refinanced several times through the V.I.P. program. In 2004, for instance, Countrywide waived three-quarters of a point, or about $2,600, on Sanborn's $345,000 refinance of his Provincetown, Massachusetts, vacation home, according to a company document.
Sanborn, who worked on risk management and loan in the Dallas office, left Fannie Mae in 2007 and is now a real estate broker. He said he learned about the V.I.P. program through Countrywide contacts, and saw nothing wrong with using it.
"My understanding is that it was simply a centralized service for people in the industry to accelerate the process," he says. He said that Countrywide gave him "the best competitive rates" and "maybe they waived a fee here or there." But, he said, he did not receive any "deep discounts."
"I would not call three-quarters of a point a deep discount," Sanborn added. "Loan brokers all over the place have the authority to waive discount points. It's not unusual."
Sanborn said he knows Mozilo, but that Countrywide's co-founder didn't refer him to the V.I.P. program. Mozilo did personally arrange a refinancing for another former Fannie Mae executive: Franklin Raines
, its chief executive from 1999 to 2004.
On June 9, 2003, the same day Raines applied for a nearly $1 million loan, a Countrywide receptionist took a message from Raines' assistant: "Per Angelo, Frank needs to refi." A Countrywide manager then instructed Feinberg by email to take one discount point, or nearly $10,000, off the loan and not to charge "junk" fees.
Former Fannie Mae chief executive James Johnson, a close friend of Mozilo, also was given special treatment. As has been previously reported, Johnson received more than $7 million in V.I.P. loans.