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Mortgage giants schedule bonus checks

March 19, 2009 at 8:47 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- Two U.S. mortgage giants that fell into conservatorship last year revealed in regulatory filings that losses didn't stop their executives from reaping bonuses.

Billed as retention pay, executives at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. and the Federal National Mortgage Association are receiving six-figure bonuses, in spite of the companies losing more than $100 billion last year, Conde Nast Portfolio.com reported Thursday.

The benefits are smaller than those at American International Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch that have provoked vehement reactions from the public and politicians. Nevertheless, in appearance at least, they fall under the same category of using taxpayer funds to reward executives for failure.

The largest bonus revealed in Securities and Exchange Commission filings will go to Fannie Mae's Chief Operating Officer Michael Williams, who will get $611,000 on top of a $676,000 salary. Fannie Mae's Executive Vice President David Hisey is to receive a bonus check of $517,000.

Freddie Mac spokeswoman Sharon McHale told Portfolio.com the retention pay, a percentage of which is paid out on a schedule to reward longevity, was a replacement for annual bonuses but was in place before the government seized control of the company.

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