Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams to Resign

Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams said on Tuesday that he will resign after a successor is appointed to lead the government-controlled mortgage firm that has become the country’s largest provider of residential mortgage funding.

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The government must now find leaders for both of the two largest housing finance companies in the U.S. after Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman announced plans to step down in October.

Fannie and Freddie were seized by the government at the height of the financial crisis, and have since absorbed about $169 billion in taxpayer support. Williams, who began working at Fannie Mae in 1991, was appointed chief executive in 2009 as the company was placed in conservatorship.

Williams and Haldeman came under intense scrutiny from Congress after it was revealed last fall that the firms paid out $12.79 million in bonuses for just 10 executives.

Both executives argued that the uncertain future of their firms was making it difficult to attract and retain staff, making the hefty pay packages a necessity.

The Obama administration as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that Fannie and Freddie should eventually be shuttered to reduce the government’s role in the mortgage market. However, they disagree over how soon that should take place.

Williams announces his resignation one week after the Federal Reserve recommended expanding the role of Fannie and Freddie in combating foreclosures and reviving the housing market.

The regulator for Fannie and Freddie has so far only allowed the Obama administration to use the firms for targeted foreclosure prevention programs.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at