Mortgage-backed securities that brought about the financial crisis earned the U.S. Treasury $25 billion

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, March 19, 2012 11:12 EDT
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US Treasury profited from mortgage-backed securities via Mesut Dogan/Shutterstock
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The US Treasury said Monday it had earned $25 billion from investments it made in mortgage-backed securities during the height of the financial crisis in 2008-2009.

Announcing the completion of its disposal of its position in the securities, which were at the center of the meltdown of the financial system, the Treasury said taxpayers received total cash of $250 billion from the portfolio — $25 billion more than the initial US investment.

“The successful sale of these securities marks another important milestone in the wind down of the government’s emergency financial crisis response efforts,” Mary Miller, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial markets, said in a statement.

Miller noted the program had helped support the housing market during the financial turmoil “and delivered a substantial profit for taxpayers.”

The completion of the program marked the Treasury’s exit from mortgage-backed securities bought from huge mortgage finance lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which were nationalized in 2008 as the financial system nearly collapsed.

Treasury said it invested $225 billion in mortgage-backed securities during 2008 and 2009 and the purchases helped preserve access to mortgage credit during a period of unprecedented market stress.

In March 2011, amid improved market conditions, Treasury announced that it would begin the gradual sale of its mortgage portfolio.

(Photo of the U.S. Treasury building in Washington, DC, by Mesut Dogan via Shutterstock)

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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