As the stock prices of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plunged 80% this year, employees of the companies helplessly watched their fortunes sink with the ship, the New York Times reports. For instance, Fannie Mae’s workers owned $116 million in company stock at the end of 2006; today it’s worth $17.5 million. The sale of stock and options paid to employees was often restricted, making diversification difficult.
Some executives were paid two-thirds of their compensations in stock and options, but even mid-level employees received as much as 20% in company assets. “If you joined in the ’80s, you did fairly well,” a Freddie economist said. “But if you joined in the last 10 years or so, those options wouldn’t be worth a whole lot to you.” Shares of both companies bounced this week on skepticism concerning a government bailout.