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Home prices boost Fannie Mae

By Judy Martel ·
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

For the sixth straight quarter, government-controlled mortgage company Fannie Mae reported a profit. Rising home prices helped deliver a $10.1 billion surplus to the company in the second quarter, nearly twice the profit earned in the second quarter of last year.

The profit goes toward repayment to U.S. taxpayers for the 2008 bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which declared bankruptcy that year and were put under conservatorship of the federal government.

Fannie Mae has borrowed close to $116 billion from the U.S. Treasury. Most of the money it has paid to the government so far -- $105 billion in dividends -- has been paid this year. In a conference call, the CEO of Fannie Mae, Timothy Mayopoulos, said "a significant and rapid increase in home prices" is responsible for second-quarter profits. That rise in prices allowed the company to dip into the reserves it had set aside during the housing collapse.

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced his intention to end government involvement in the mortgage business by winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and putting responsibility for guaranteeing mortgages in the hands of private investors. The pace of Fannie Mae's dividend payments to the government is accelerating that goal.

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