The Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- Bailed-out Fannie Mae on Tuesday reported a record $17.2 billion profit for 2012, driven by the housing-market recovery and a big settlement with Bank of America related to soured mortgages during the subprime boom.
The housing finance giant, now owned by taxpayers after it was rescued in 2008 along with sibling firm Freddie Mac, posted a loss of $16.9 billion in 2011.
“Our financial results improved significantly in 2012 and we expect our earnings to remain strong over the next few years,” said Fannie Mae Chief Executive Timothy J. Mayopoulos.
The return to profitability for Fannie Mae last year allowed it to stop taking bailout money from the federal government for the first time since its rescue. The company had received about $116 billion in taxpayer money through mid-December.
Freddie Mac had received about $71 billion in the same time period. In February, it also reported a return to profitability in 2012, with $11 billion in net income compared with a loss of $5.3 billion the previous year.
Both companies have been able to start paying down the amount they owe taxpayers. Freddie Mac paid $7.2 billion in dividends to the Treasury in 2012, reducing the overall cost of its bailout to $47.5 billion.
Fannie Mae said Tuesday it paid $11.6 billion in dividends back to the Treasury last year, reducing the cost of its bailout to $80.4 billion.
But the rescue was structured in a way that the companies cannot repay all the bailout money. Regulators and lawmakers are working on plans to shut them down and replace their oversized role in the housing market.
The improving performance of mortgages it backs or owns, as well as the recovery in the housing market, helped turn around Fannie Mae's finances, said Chief Financial Officer Susan McFarland.
Fannie Mae reported a $7.6 billion profit over the final three months of 2012, a record quarterly profit.
The company's bottom line also was helped by settlements with Bank of America related to subprime mortgages issued by Countrywide Financial Corp., which BofA acquired in 2008. Fannie Mae said it received $1.3 billion in pre-tax income in 2012 from Bank of America, which agreed to repurchase thousands of bad loans sold to Fannie Mae.
The agreements, announced in January, call for Bank of America to pay $10.4 billion to Fannie Mae, with some of that money coming this year.
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