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Fannie Mae Posts Record Profit; Paid Taxpayers $11.6 Billion In 2012

The government-controlled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which needed a $116 billion federal bailout after the housing bubble burst in 2007, said Tuesday that it earned a record $7.6 billion in fourth-quarter 2012 and $17.2 billion for the year.

That allowed it to pay $11.6 billion in dividends to the U.S. Treasury Department last year, Fannie Mae says. Since 2008, it has "paid taxpayers $35.6 billion in dividends." Looking ahead, "we expect our earnings to remain strong over the next few years," Timothy Mayopoulos, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Bloomberg News writes that:

"Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and package them into securities on which they guarantee payments of principal and interest. The two companies have drawn $187.5 billion from Treasury and have sent back more than $60 billion in the form of dividends, which count as a return on the government's investment and not as a repayment.

"Under the terms of an agreement with Treasury that went into effect this year, the enterprises will be allowed to retain only $3 billion in net worth. Any profits beyond that amount will go to taxpayers."

As The Wall Street Journal notes in a paywall-protected report, Fannie Mae has been benefiting from "the housing market's turnaround and sustained declines in the number of soured home loans. ... Fannie is [also] losing less money on homes it sells through foreclosure as prices in many markets rise."

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NPR

'Game Of Thrones' Evolves On Women In Explosive Sixth Season

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones showed a real evolution in the way the show portrays women and in the season finale, several female characters ascended to power. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Glen Weldon from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and Greta Johnsen, host of the Nerdette podcast, about the show.
NPR

In Quest For Happier Chickens, Perdue Shifts How Birds Live And Die

Perdue Farms, one of the largest poultry companies in the country, says it will change its slaughter methods and also some of its poultry houses. Animal welfare groups are cheering.
WAMU 88.5

Jonathan Rauch On How American Politics Went Insane

Party insiders and backroom deals: One author on why we need to bring back old-time politics.

WAMU 88.5

Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters

In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.

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