Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance companies under federal control, are planning to pay $210 million in retention bonuses to 7,600 employees over 18 months, the firms' regulator said Friday.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency said $51 million in payouts was given to employees in late 2008 and the remainder would come this year and next. The information was contained in a letter to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's compensation plans drew scrutiny several weeks ago after American International Group Inc. paid $165 million in bonuses to employees of the unit that brought the insurance giant down. The House passed legislation to significantly tax the AIG bonuses, though the measure has been stalled in the Senate.
Grassley and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) expressed concerns that Fannie and Freddie, which received more than $50 billion in taxpayer dollars, would be paying bonuses. Frank called for bonuses to be withheld. In an earlier letter to Frank, the housing finance agency said that about 3,500 employees at Fannie were getting an average payment of $32,000, and 4,000 employees at Freddie were getting an average of $24,000.