WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government says it has received $66.3 billion in dividend payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reflecting stronger earnings at the start of the year. The payments are a key reason the government expects its smallest budget deficit in five years.
Treasury officials say Fannie Mae on Friday paid $59.4 billion and Freddie Mac paid $7 billion.
The mortgage giants own or guarantee nearly half of all U.S. mortgages. They were taken over by the government at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. Fannie has now repaid $95 billion of the roughly $116 billion it received during the crisis, while Freddie has repaid roughly $37 billion of the $71.3 billion it received.
The dividends in part reflect a stronger housing market.