Fannie Mae CEO Steps Down, Despite Having “Long Way to Go in Housing”

Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Michael Williams resigned today, saying that he will step down as soon as Fannie’s board appoints his successor.

The government-pocket firm, alongside relative-company Freddie Mac, have been highlighted by the fed as crucial to full economic recovery. This news can’t conceivably be good for the fed, especially since Freddie’s CEO Charles Haldeman Jr. has also made plans to leave his post this year.

54-year-old Williams joined Fannie in 1991, and was promoted to the top seat about three years ago. He’s the second CEO since government takeover in 2008. Concerning his resignation, Williams said:

“This is a good time to move on and get someone to run the company for the next two to three years, because we still have a long way to go in housing,”

Fannie and Freddie’s “boss”, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has given unclear direction for the two firms since the economic collapse. The FHFA is primarily concerned with preventing loss while other policy makers want the companies to take upfront losses if it means improving the market. Acting FHFA director Edward DeMarco said of Williams’ departure:

“I am grateful for Mr. Williams’s steadfast dedication to ensuring Fannie Mae meets its public mission…while both leading his company and working with government officials,”

Fannie and Freddie continue to face scrutiny as the housing market refuses to recover and the government bill from 2008’s takeover continues to grow zeroes at its end. Both firms have cost us, the taxpayers, $151 billion since government takeover, and still no improvement. Where’s all that money going? million-dollar pay packages approved by the firm boards in 2009. Williams himself stood to take in base salary of $900,000 for 2011, bonuses and deferments putting his gains closer to $6 million. At least they regularly face criticism for it. The government probably should as well.

Everyone seems to be playing nice, but this feels like rats leaving a sinking ship.

What do you think of Fannie Mae? Too big to fail or too expensive to keep on the government payroll?