The mortgage-finance companies, which were
propped up by $187.5 billion in taxpayer money after they were
placed under government control in 2008, made hefty dividend
payments last month in return for the support they received.
Those payments helped the government take in $53 billion more in
revenue in December than it paid out, the U.S. Treasury said on
Monday. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a surplus of
only $44.0 billion.
Under the terms of the bailout for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
the government gets a majority of the companies' quarterly
profits. The two companies made payments to the Treasury
totaling $39.57 billion at the end of last year.
For the first three months of the budget year, the Treasury
posted a deficit of $173.6 billion, down 41 percent from the
$293.30 billion shortfall from October through December 2012.
Government spending fell 8 percent to $838.20 billion in
December. The payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac help
reduce spending, and are not included in total revenues.
(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn;
editing by Andrea Ricci)
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