Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Under Fire for Bonuses

By: Brian Todd Email
By: Brian Todd Email

WASHINGTON 11/14/2011 -- You may not know Michael Williams, but you'd probably want to be paid like him. The same goes for Ed Haldeman.

They're the respective CEO's of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored firms which back at least half the mortgages in America.

According to records from the securities and exchange commission, they each made about 900-thousand dollars in salary last year-- and each is getting paid about 2-million in bonuses.

Earlier this year-- the federal government approved nearly 13-million dollars in bonuses for Williams, Haldeman and eight other execs from the two firms.

Despite the fact that millions of Americans are still struggling to make it through the housing crisis and that Fannie and Freddie have been hemorrhaging cash this year.

They lost 10-billion dollars in the last quarter, and just asked Congress for more money.

Republican Senator John Thune is spearheading an effort by 60 Democratic and Republican Senators to cancel the bonuses. They've sent a letter to the government body that oversees Fannie and Freddie- the federal housing finance agency- asking it to revise the compensation policy for those execs.

The FHFA approved those bonuses.

Their overseer, the FHFA says it's reduced executive pay at Fannie and Freddie in recent years. That those firms have to pay that kind of money to attract the talent needed to manage 5-trillion dollars in mortgages.

When asked how big the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was compared to other bailouts analyst Cliff Rossi said, "Yeah - it was about $170-billion so far, for both entities - both Fannie and Freddie - and I think the estimated tally from what I understand from the Congressional Budget Office is somewhere in the neighborhood of $250-billion. So from that standpoint, it's large, relative to these other bailouts."

Analyst Cliff Rossi - who once worked at both Fannie and Freddie- says the current execs those firms were put in place since the bailout, to clean up the mess from before.. he says they have started to do that- but also says they haven't done enough to modify more home-owners' bad mortgages, so he's on the fence about whether they deserve their bonuses.

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