Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bosses at bailed-out Fannie, Freddie were paid millions

Regulators have approved generous executive compensation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-backed mortgage finance giants, with little scrutiny or analysis, according to a report published Thursday by the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The companies, whose fates are to be decided by Congress this year, paid a combined $17 million to their chief executives in 2009 and 2010, the two full years when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were wards of the state, the report found.

The top six executives at the companies received $35.4 million over the two years. Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over in September 2008, the companies’ mounting mortgage losses have required a $153 billion infusion from taxpayers. Total losses may reach $363 billion through 2013, according to government estimates.

Charles E. Haldeman Jr., a former head of Putnam Investments, the giant fund management concern, joined Freddie Mac as its chief executive in 2009.

He made $7.8 million for 2009 and 2010. Fannie Mae’s chief is Michael J. Williams, who has worked at the company since 1991. He received $9.3 million for the two years. Company officials declined to comment.

With hundreds of billions in government support necessary to keep the companies running, questions are arising about the nature of the pay packages and how performance goals are determined. (read more)