Hefty pay expected for chiefs of Freddie, Fannie

By Alan Zibel
Associated Press / December 24, 2009

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WASHINGTON - Federal regulators plan to disclose today that the top executives of government controlled mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each earned between $4 million and $6 million this year, two people briefed on the matter said.

The people, who declined to be identified because the disclosure was not yet public, said yesterday the pay packages were approved by the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie.

A spokeswoman for the housing finance agency declined to comment last night.

Salaries for executives at companies receiving taxpayer assistance have been a politically explosive issue, and the disclosure could provoke a new round of criticism of the government’s numerous bailouts.

The pay packages for Fannie’s chief executive, Michael Williams, and Freddie chief executive Ed Haldeman are expected to be similar to each other and are to be paid in cash because the companies’ shares are nearly worthless.

Fannie and Freddie also plan to disclose pay packages for several other senior executives.

Salaries for executives at Fannie and Freddie are not subject to approval by the federal pay czar Kenneth Feinberg but still need to be approved by regulators.

Freddie Mac hired Haldeman, a former chief executive of Putnam Investments in Boston, in July. At the time, the company disclosed his annual salary of $900,000 but did not disclose other incentive payments.

Williams, formerly Fannie Mae’s chief operating officer, took over as chief executive after the first government-appointed chief executive, Herbert Allison, took a job at the Treasury. Williams earned a base salary of $676,000 last year.