by Meridith Levinson

Fiserv Hires Countrywide Financial CIO

Jan 11, 20082 mins

Richard Jones has left Countrywide Financial Corp. after a 12-year tenure with the company. He most recently served as Countrywide’s managing director and CIO. Countrywide, whose questionable lending practices have come under fire in light of the housing market crisis, is hemorrhaging after having sold too many high interest rate mortgages to borrowers who couldn’t afford them. The New York Times detailed the company’s lending practices and explained how computer systems in its subprime lending unit were set up to get customers into more expensive loans.

Jones has accepted a job with a new company, Fiserv, which provides transaction processing, outsourcing and other services to financial and insurance companies. Fiserv announced today–the same day that Bank of America said that it is buying out Countrywide–that Jones is joining the company as EVP and CIO. He will oversee infrastructure and IT governance, and he will lead programs designed “to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the company’s disbursed technology resources,” according to the press release announcing his hire.

Jones served as Countrywide’s EVP of e-business and systems architecture before being appointed CIO in 2000. During his career at Countrywide, “he established industry-leading technology practices; developed Countrywide’s global mortgage banking software and website infrastructure; enhanced risk management capabilities; and fully replaced legacy systems,” according to the Fiserve press release.

In his new role, Jones reports to Fiserv’s CEO Jeff Yabuki, who had this to say about his new CIO in the press release:

“Richard’s proven experience leading technology in a world class financial services organization will bode very well for Fiserv. His vast experience and leadership skills should significantly enhance the execution of our Fiserv 2.0 strategies. We are very pleased to have Richard on the team.”

Fiserv would not tell whether it had any knowledge that the information systems in operation on Jones’s watch were being used to reinforce questionable lending practices or if that was an issue during the hiring process.