The chief executives of the bailed-out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are getting raises.

Fannie CEO Timothy Mayopoulos and Freddie CEO Donald Layton will receive $4 million in compensation apiece annually, according to disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.

Previously, the agency that serves as the companies' government caretaker had cut their base salaries to $600,000 in the wake of criticism of the government-sponsored enterprises.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt approved the increase in compensation, after he had requested plans from the companies for promoting CEO retention.

In a statement provided by his office, Watt said that "the plan defers significant compensation to ensure retention, is based on performance, does not include a bonus and is consistent with FHFA's statutory responsibilities to ensure safety and soundness and a liquid national housing finance market. The plan also positions each CEO's compensation well below the 25th percentile, one of the requirements set by FHFA in recognition of the fact that the enterprises are in conservatorship.""

The executives' annual pay will include $750,000 in base salary, $2,050,000 in deferred salary, and $1,200,000 in salary that can be reduced for poor performance.

The salary increases were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Fannie and Freddie, which buy home loans from lenders and package them into government-guaranteed securities to sell to investors, were bailed out in 2008 during the depths of the subprime crisis. They were taken into conservatorship by the government and have remained in that status since, ultimately receiving nearly $200 billion in taxpayer support.

In recent years the companies have returned to positive cash flow, returning money to the Treasury. But Congress has not moved on legislation to close them down or return them to the private sector.

The situation has left major decisions about the companies' business and governance to be decided by Watt, an Obama appointee to the independent agency.

Lawmakers and members of the administration had cautioned Watt against raising salaries for the government-sponsored enterprise heads, whose compensation has been a matter of controversy in the past.