The FHFA has defended executive pay at Fannie and Freddie
in the past by saying the salaries were necessary to recruit and
retain talented executives who can run big, complex companies.
The Center for Public Integrity
By: John Solomon and
May 26, 2011
Over the last two years, the Obama administration has approved a whopping $34.4 million in compensation to the top six executives of the financially troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants while lacking basic protections to ensure such compensation is warranted, a federal watchdog found.
The largesse flowed to the six executives even though the two companies they run struggle to staunch billions of dollars in losses, remain in government conservatorship, and are required to repay taxpayers for assuming the companies’ liabilities during the mortgage crisis. Fannie and Freddie are tapping Treasury Department funds each quarter to help pay 10 percent dividends owed to the U.S. government.
“The need for effectiveness, integrity, and transparency in FHFA’s programs and operations cannot be overstated,” said Inspector General Steve Linick, a former Justice Department prosecutor confirmed by Senate last year to watch over federal housing programs. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received almost $154 billion in taxpayer funding to support the still-fragile housing market. In addition, they own or guarantee about $5.4 trillion in residential mortgage obligations.”
Compensation Fast Facts
- Fannie Mae Chief Executive Michael J. Williams received a compensation package totaling $9.3 million in 2009 and 2010, according to a March report by the FHFA inspector general. That figure includes an annual salary around $900,000, a similar amount in long-term incentive awards each year, plus $2.9 million in annual deferred pay. All three types of compensation are paid in cash.
- Fannie Mae’s chief financial officer, David M. Johnson, was paid $4.6 million in 2009 and 2010. The company’s general counsel, Timothy Mayopoulos, had a compensation package of $4.5 million for the two years, the inspector general said.
- At Freddie Mac, Chief Executive Charles Haldeman had a two-year compensation package totaling $7.8 million in salary, incentive awards and deferred pay. Freddie’s chief financial officer, Ross Kari, was paid $4 million and its general counsel, Robert Bostrom, took home $5.2 million, according to the inspector general. Continue Reading