Higher interest rates boost Fannie Mae profit

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage company, said its net income in the fourth quarter nearly doubled on higher interest rates.

It also said Friday that it expects to pay the U.S. Department of Treasury $2.9 billion in dividends next month.

With that payment, Fannie Mae will have paid the Treasury $147.6 billion, above the $116.1 billion it received in government bailouts.

The Washington, D.C.-based company reported net income of $2.5 billion in the latest quarter, compared with $1.3 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

The government rescued Fannie Mae and sibling Freddie Mac in 2008. Both companies don’t make loans to homebuyers. Instead, they buy mortgages from lenders, package them as bonds, guarantee them against default and sell them to investors.

For the full year, Fannie Mae said its net income fell to $11 billion in 2015 from $14.2 billion in 2014 as it paid settlements related to mortgage-related securities.