Personal Statement

A concern voiced by some who previewed this site, is that, in trying to defend myself publicly, plaintiffs or others could try to portray me as an “ex-banker” seeking to blame others.

I guess they can try to characterize me that way, but isn’t everyone entitled to defend themselves when they are unfairly and inaccurately publicly attacked?

Everything that I and my family have, I have earned through my own hard work and talents.

I was not born with “a silver spoon in my mouth,” although I am very thankful to my parents for their tremendous love and support throughout my life.

Like most Americans, I worked hard for everything I have and have overcome significant adversity in both my professional and personal life.

I was raised in a middle class family in Rancho Cordova, California. I’m a fifth-generation Californian on the Portuguese side of my family.

When I was young, my dad was an auto mechanic and my mother was a homemaker. My dad worked his way up into management at Pacific Gas & Electric and graduated college two years before I did after more than a decade of night school. And my mom got her A.A. degree and went back to work when I and my siblings were older, as a secretary for the local school district.

I attended public schools and worked hard and was a good student. My parents main goal was to make sure my siblings and I did well in school, so we could “get a good desk job.” I remember one quarter in junior high, I came home with fives A’s and one B and got a lecture; “you can do better in that subject.” The next quarter, I came home with six A minuses and I will never forget my dad saying, “Mike, you went down in five subjects and up in only one.”

I had a few summer jobs in high school and in between high school and college, my dad got me a job at PG&E (it was the only job I ever got that I did not get on my own), cleaning the mechanic’s garage from the late evening until early morning. It was dirty and hard work. My grandmother cleaned office buildings for the State of California for a living. I was taught by my parents to respect everyone and the work they performed, but I was expected to “get a college degree and get that desk job.”

I attended California State University, Sacramento (Sac State as it was called then) and worked at the local blood bank as a clerk and driver. I usually worked 12 hours on Saturday and another 12 on Sunday, and some semesters I would finish a graveyard shift at 7 am Monday morning and head to an 8 am class. I lived at home to save money, worked at least 24 hours a week from my sophomore year through graduation, and when I graduated I had six grand in the bank and no student loans. I took a full class load and some summer school and graduated in four years with a 3.86 GPA. I received a Senior Achievement award, an award that recognized a half dozen or so of the top graduates out of a class that numbered in the several thousands. I was also President of the accounting fraternity and Vice President of the business honor society and was an intern at a major accounting firm.

These activities, all focused on getting that “good desk job,” unfortunately did not leave much time to have a social life.

Before I graduated, I took the CPA exam and passed all four parts and received a job offer from all but one of the “Big Eight” public accounting firms.

I went to work in August 1984, for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, & Co. (now KPMG) as an assistant accountant, making a starting salary of $19,500 per year. I became a CPA once my requisite 2 years of work experience was completed.

In 1987, I was offered a job to become Controller of Commerce Savings Bank, a small Sacramento thrift, for a salary of $35,000 a year and jumped at the chance. I remember giving notice to the audit partner-in-charge. When I told him, he put his head on his desk and literally cried, and then in anger threw his keys against the wall and said, “You’re making a mistake. You will be a partner here before you are thirty.” Even though I had the title of Controller, I was really the “Chief Financial Officer,” as I was the most senior financial officer and reported directly to the CEO. During the interview process, the CEO asked me my how old I was and when I told him 24, he seemed surprised and decided to reconsider other candidates before finally offering me the job. But I would have to wait, at least a little while, for the CFO title.

Roughly a year later, I became Chief Financial Officer and shortly thereafter, in addition to my accounting and finance duties, I took over a small, money-losing mortgage brokerage division of Commerce. The thrift became a bank and I became the #2 officer; a Senior Executive Vice President in charge of mortgage banking. In 1992, my last year at Commerce, as a result of the mortgage banking division I built, we were the top performing bank in the State of California, in terms of return on equity.

In January, 1993, at 30 years old, I was hired to take over a money-losing, publicly-traded, mortgage REIT, headquartered in Pasadena, California. The REIT had no business and three employees besides me and the market valuation of the company at the time was roughly $75 million.

We fought and survived (barely) the 1998 Global Liquidity Crisis, as a mortgage REIT, and I said, “never again.” To avoid being reliant on highly volatile capital market funding, I developed and led our efforts to buy First Federal of San Gabriel Valley and merge all of our business into this small thrift. We were approved by the federal bank regulators and became a Federal Thrift on July 1, 2000. That thrift was renamed Indymac Bank.

During this time, I had to fight a very challenging personal health issue. I had never been in great health. When I was a boy, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and put on a regime where I took huge daily doses of aspirin. Just after graduating college, while working in public accounting, I developed a bleeding ulcer and nearly died. I was rushed to the hospital and they pumped blood into both of my arms at the same time, with some sort of compression device. This was 1985, before tests for many blood diseases. I had a rare blood type (B-), so they ran out of blood in Sacramento and had to reach out to hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area. I survived and my health, life, and career all prospered. Then in early 1998, I received a call from a life insurance company representative who said (based on a physical I had taken), “You don’t have what Magic has, but you have Hepatitis C.” What’s that, I thought? A few months later, I began a six-month regime of interferon treatments, but it made me so sick and I needed a clear mind and strong body to see Indymac through the 1998 Global Liquidity Crisis, so I went off the program early and relapsed. After I was sure Indymac was safe and sound again, I began a year-long treatment of interferon shots three times a week and ribavirin pills daily. It was grueling and I was sick nearly every day for a year, but beyond the few days where I initially went on the regime, I never missed work and I was thankfully cured by early 2000.

Over 15+ years, I gave everything I had to Indymac and its employees, regulators, and shareholders, only to lose it in this unprecedented financial crisis. We were “Not Too Big To Fail.” At its peak, Indymac had approximately 10,000 employees, over $33 billion in assets, $92 billion in annual loan volume, and $201 billion in servicing. By 2007, Indymac was the 7th largest savings and loan and 2nd largest independent mortgage lender in the U.S., with a market value in excess of $3 billion.

While many people have helped me throughout my professional career, I built everything I and my family have on my own; through my honest, hard work.

We Were “Not Too Big To Fail”

I am happy that the officers and directors of Indymac were largely able to avoid most or all of this meritless litigation and the resulting damage to their reputation, careers, and finances (although a few other officers are tied up in one or more of the government cases and/or private litigation with me). With that said, Indymac was a relatively large, modern corporation, with very strong, independently-rated corporate governance; including a significant and experienced management team and a first-class, independent board of directors. The board of directors and bank regulators approved our strategic and financial plan and I and a very strong and experienced management team executed it. Many of these lawsuits, including the SEC’s and FDIC’s, ignore modern corporate governance and I believe send an inappropriate message to corporations and their CEOs and CFOs. The message being that, rather than following well-established management and corporate governance principles, these two officers alone should make every key decision and check everyone’s important work, because they alone are likely going to be the only ones sued if something goes wrong. Two key reasons the plaintiffs have sued primarily just the CFO and myself are as follows: 1) SOX certifications (a flawed and abusive law in my view), and 2) a very tactical and cynical one; they don’t want other defendant’s lawyers “eating up” potential D&O insurance settlement proceeds in their defense.

In hindsight, any mistakes we made were minor compared to the systemic and macroeconomic events that unfolded in this crisis. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored, AAA-rated, mortgage firms could not survive (among many others who did not survive or needed unprecedented assistance), how could Indymac? We made it longer than any other major independent home lender, because we were well-managed. We just unfortunately were “Not Too Big To Fail”.

The “ships” that the “Too Big To Fail” CEOs inherited, were bigger, and far more diversified financial institutions, that were built by generations of management over many decades. Some were more than a century old. These institutions and their CEOs also benefited from “Too Big To Fail” credit ratings and cost of funds (as a result their size, age and prior government bailouts/assistance), and despite this advantage, the fact is all of them needed government help to survive this crisis. I have come to terms with that and the fact that Indymac Bank received no government assistance. I have not come to terms with the inconsistency between those facts and the fact that the SEC, FDIC, and others are now seeking to blame me and other honest and capable individuals.

  1. Best of luck to you Mr. Perry.
    I am a former underwriter from the Bellevue Wa branch. As someone who over the years worked for the likes of Ameriquest, WaMu, New Century and several small brokers I can concur that Indymac was above board more than the behemoths and did not deserve to die the death it was dealt. We hung on until that fateful day we got shuttered.

  2. Mike,
    I founded and ran Select Mortgage Corporation, and independent mortgage banking firm out of New Jersey, for 20 years. Select was much smaller than Indy Mac. However, we were an Indy Mac correspondent, and we were one of the first New Jersey firms to sign up with you at your office in Mount Laurel, NJ.

    I closed my company on 6/30/2010. I closed my company the right way, the way I wanted to close it, with honesty and transparency for employees, regulators, customers, vendors and correspondent partners. My standard line was that, from my corner office view, I kept looking for the TARP truck to pull into my parking lot, but that day never came.

    As a small business, we were discarded, along with the 32 jobs we provided to employees in NJ, PA and FL. I continue in the business, along with one of my sons, as the Managing Consultant at Con-Serve Capital Consulting, Inc, (www.conservecapitalnj.com).

    I read your personal statement, and I got to your site after reading Rob Chrisman’s daily blog this morning. I like the way you approach the topic, along with facts and sentiments expressed. Good job.

    Best wishes,

    Dave Lewis
    856-905-7812

  3. GSachs and their cabal of HF including Duane Mgt (x GS), G Soros, JP Paulson, JC Flowers x GS right hand man to Hank Paulson (when he walked from GS holding 100s of M) created a domino trade to destroy your asset class. They used CDS used as proxy for FMV under new GAAP rules Jan 07. The SEC deployed REGSHO in the false name of liquidity to allow abusive naked short selling (note the big difference with reg short selling) the HF bought up CDS and PUTS creating a death spiral. They ABX Index was the marks for FMV accounting. Berkeley Study shows the ABX Index (collection of thinly traded CDS used as proxy for value) was only correlated to short selling not value. It was a scam by FASB owner of GAAP, but FDIC used GAAP for statutory capital requirements. They bought up IndyMac as fast as they could because they knew they frozen credit markets and shared the spoils. The Abacus deal which GS paid $550m is further proof but what I find amazing is not other experts have connected the dots or maybe they did and not survived. GS and powerful HF control the press paying them to do word association into the minds of America. Yes the market failed and yes assets were touched via this domino trade but it became a self fulfilling proficy once they started it. Follow the money it was well placed. Look at Dan Loeb and David Einhorn who sat NEW board. Ask regulators to track how much they had short on there own co. How did Einhorn gain the vision to stand up at a luncheon six months before LEH failure and proclaim bankrupt in an argument with then CFO of LEH.

    • Did I say SEC eliminated the uptick rule six months after they went to FMV GAAP Mark to Market accounting, (July 2007). The uptick rule had been in effect at SEC since the great depression and prevented abusive short selling. How convenient SEC did away with this short selling control valve. REG SHO was pointed out many times by Jack Snow as a ruse on the market. SEC sued CBOE for its role in abusive naked short selling $6M. The CDS were “weapons of financial mass destruction” per Charlie Munger one of the biggest cabal members which is why Warren Buffett was allowed to invest $5B in GS (sweetest terms in history). How did he know. GS has been fined millions for huddling with HF but no one has connected the dots. It is just like Robin Hood.

  4. Dear Mike -
    Its now 2013. Its a new era as well. I am good at moving on, but in this case I still miss Indymac and just wanted to express that. As
    part of the Pacific Northwest region, we didn’t get to see you often enough. I will never forget though, how much we loved the company -
    our brand, our talent and dedication, and your leadership. I’ve not seen a CEO before or since sign company emails as ‘mike’ , lower
    case – that said something to me about you. Everything I sensed was quality, integrity, talent and dedication. Indymac truly invested
    in its employees , starting with the unusual two week expenses paid trainings we received. I was impressed from the beginning and
    even though it felt like the Titanic in the last few months, we showed up everyday for each other. We were a very intelligent group
    and we did our job well. I’d even relocate to California to work for you again. I hope you are well and envy any fortunate group of
    people you lead in the future. Kim

  5. I was hoping you would start another company of some sorts and, if you do, I would like to apply;)

  6. Mike,
    I do not know you but was directed to your web site. I was a similar victim of ruthless, “make up the rules, government regulation”. The costs are staggering and the accountability none. It is a disgrace that such activities occur in our over regulated world. I feel the passion of your pain from a guy who did the right things and believed in the system he was part of, only to be betrayed for reasons that have no bearing on truth.

    I am sorry this happened to you.. I am sorry it happened to me. I long for the day when accountability to those orchestrating such a fruitless use of resources exists.

    Greg W Seitz

  7. Mike,

    I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for everything you have written on this website. Although I haven’t seen you in many years, I will always remember you as one of the smartest, hardworking and fair bosses I have ever had. I worked with you during your tenure at Commerce Security Bank and always swore that if you ever called, I would come work for you again. I hope that you and your family are doing well. I applaud you for holding your head high and disclosing what really happened to Indymac.

    Sincerely,

    Lynne (Gamba) Harper

  8. j chassin harold

    Wow, what a great story. Mine is so similar. We should talk. I think I could be of some help.

  9. Please keep the updates coming

  10. The information contained in these pages have been more than enlightening, and point out, in black and white the realities of our flawed government. That is not to say that it can ever be corrected to a favorable point, but your story is not to dissimilar in structure than many other corporations, companies, and even individuals who, for some reason, ended up at the sharp end of the stick. Yours is unique, becasue of its size, and real lack of realities behind the failure as it relates to the institution itself.

    I applaud you for your standing up for yourself, and support you in continuing to do so each day. I see the amazing accomplishments in taking a struggling 3 person company and turning it into a well run, well respected, and very solvent bank. It is a crime that the words of what seemed to be, a personally motivated Senator, can make a mockery of all of your accomplishments.

    All the best,
    Scott Kuhn

  11. Mike,
    I am so proud of the man you are. It has taken a lot of courage to put yourself out there again for additional scrutiny and criticism. So many people were willing to speak out when Indymac failed without truly knowing the facts and it is a sad testament to the current state of our media.

    This Blog helps take back that arena and present the truth that thousands of us know. This Blog helps set the record straight on the kind of CEO you were.

    Let the critics show up with facts and not just spew hate this time. Let the critics prove you have done anything unethical and illegal. They won’t be able to do it and unfortunately, that doesn’t make headlines.

    Keep the faith.

    Annie

    PS I still get calls from former employees wanting to know when they can come back to work for you.

  12. Mike, I thank you for your many, many contributions, and positive impact you, your employees, and your Company had on the communities you served throughout the years.

    Bottom line, those who know you, love you. And those who don’t love you, simply don’t know you well enough, and that’s unfortunate.

    You and your family should be extremely proud of your accomplishments and contributions.

    I am certainly proud of you, and proud to know you.

    You are a true leader, and I hope to see you lead again soon.
    Your Friend, Eric

  13. Mike,

    I was priviliged to know you and Indymac for many years – first as a customer, then as an employee for the last 5 years. It was my honor to work for a CEO who I considered not only a respected and bright leader, but a gentleman of true integrity in an industry frought with the opposite.

    I recall when I was still a customer I once asked you if Indymac would ever offer 125 ltv loans. Your answer was, “Not as long as I’m still running the company because I want Indymac to stay in business.” That alone told me that your intent was to always make the decision that would benefit the long term interests of the company and its shareholders.

    It’s interesting to me what so many of the loyal Indymac employees have suffered over the past 3 years. I came to realize that many of us were suffering from a loss and continued to seek to replace what we had at Indymac. Things were not always perfect by any means, but I felt part of a team who was working together to accomplish something special. That has, thus far, proved very difficult to replace. I think many of us suffered from the same Indymac “hangover.”

    Thank you for your leadership and friendship.

    Greg Grandchamp

  14. As usual I am impressed by the amount of information you are providing to the public. I am proud to have worked for Indymac for 10 years, and respected you as a leader every day I worked there, and every day since. Thank you for speaking out Mike.

    Sincerely,

    Meg Wade

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