Taxpayers Earn Tidy $25 Billion Profit on Government MBS Sale
Carl Gaines March 20, 2012, 9:29 a.m.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Monday that it had completed the sell-off of its portfolio of mortgage-backed securities, purchased to buoy the housing market and access to mortgage credit during the depth of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
Over those two years, Treasury invested a total of $225 billion in the securities—guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Through sales, principal and interest, the agency said, taxpayers received a return on that investment of $25 billion.
Assistant secretary for Financial Markets Mary Miller said that the sale marks “another important milestone in the wind down of the government’s emergency financial crisis response efforts.” She added, in a prepared statement, that it “helped support the housing market during a critical moment for our nation’s economy and delivered a substantial profit for taxpayers.”
The MBS purchase was authorized by Congress via the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Sales by Treasury began in March 2011, when the winding down of the program was first announced.
U.S. Department of the Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson provides a chart of the whole process, from September 2008 to this month, here.