The top six executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made a combined $35.4 million in 2009 and 2010, but they could have made more had they reached levels set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The two companies were taken into conservatorship in late 2008. Along with developing how those struggling enterprises would operate and continue to fund the mortgage market, the FHFA and the Treasury set up how executive compensation packages would be structured. A balancing act was needed. The two firms have since drawn $134 billion from the Treasury, and the two regulators needed make sure the GSEs kept costs low to protect taxpayers. But they also needed to ensure that the two firms could recruit and retain talent, according to a report from the FHFA Inspector General. Compensation was set up so that the GSEs would have to meet certain goals. Fannie had to maintain its single-family credit expenses, including foreclosure costs, at $45.5 billion. In 2010, the GSE cut it to $26 billion. Freddie had to maintain a retained mortgage portfolio of $810 billion or less, which it did. FHFA Acting Direct Edward DeMarco said in testimony before Congress Thursday that Freddie's portfolio was at $697 billion at the end of 2010. Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams took the position in 2009, and earned $9.3 million for 2009 and 2010 combined. Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman who also took the job in 2009, earned $7.8 million in both 2009 and 2010. But according to the FHFA, the compensation packages for both positions could have gone as high as $6 million per year per person. "Had the CEOs met their targeted total compensation levels, which they did not, they would have received an additional $7 million," the FHFA said in a report released this week. "In other words, they could have been paid as much as $24 million over two years, an extraordinary sum." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.