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High salaries at Freddie, Fannie draw attention

Two unidentified men walk to the Freddie Mac offices on August 11, 2010, in McLean, Va.

A government watchdog released a report this morning that scrutinizes the pay of senior staffers at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The report is from the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie.

There are more than 300 vice presidents at Fannie and Freddie. Their median salary is $388,000. 

“The president of the United States only makes $400,000,” says Len Blum, managing partner at Westwood Capital. 

He says Fannie and Freddie pay private-sector salaries. They’re not government agencies, but they were taken over by the government in 2008. Since then, taxpayers have poured almost $190 billion into them.

Fannie and Freddie say they need to pay competitive salaries to employees who work in a complex mortgage market.

But Blum points out that Fannie and Freddie’s employees make more than people working at a similar level at the Federal Reserve.

“It’s pretty hard to argue that their counterparts at the Fed don’t have all kinds of responsibility and take risks in markets and have to be well trained," he says.

Fannie and Freddie slashed their CEO’s salaries after the government takeover. The report says now there should be more oversight of senior staffers’ pay. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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