May 9 - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the biggest providers of mortgage money in the U.S., pay back $131.6 billion of the 2008 bailout money. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Your Daily Digit is $131.6 billion. The two biggest American mortgage finance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will pay back that total amount to the U.S. Treasury as of the end of the current quarter. Six years ago, taxpayers had to bail the two out with a financial rescue of $187.5 billion. But now things are different. Home prices are rising, mortgage delinquencies are falling and many people are refinancing. Fannie, the nation's biggest provider of mortgage money, just reported a record pretax income for the first quarter of this year, ending in the plus for the fifth time in a row. For its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, it was the sixth straight quarterly profit and the largest gain since 2002. The payback will go a long way in Washington. The more than $131 billion will go towards paying down the nation's debt -delaying a fight on raising how much the Treasury has to borrow in order to keep the government going.