Freddie Mac profit rises on higher interest rates

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage company, said its net income jumped in the fourth quarter on higher interest rates.

It also said Thursday that it will pay a dividend to the U.S. Department of Treasury of $1.7 billion next month. Freddie Mac has paid more than $96 billion in dividends to the Treasury since 2008, surpassing the $71.3 billion in bailouts it received from the government between 2008 and 2012.

Freddie Mac, based in Based in McLean, Virginia, doesn’t make loans to homebuyers. Instead, it buys mortgages from lenders, packages them into bonds, guarantees them against default and sells them to investors.

Freddie Mac reported net income of $2.2 billion in the quarter ending Dec. 31, compared with $227 million in the same period the year before.

For the full year Freddie Mac reported net income of $6.38 billion, below the $7.7 billion it reported a year ago.

Fannie Mae, another government-controlled mortgage company, will report its fourth-quarter results on Friday.