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Freddie Mac earns $4.5b in quarter

In the most recent quarter, Freddie Mac paid the Treasury $1.8 billion.

AFP/Getty Images/File 2010

In the most recent quarter, Freddie Mac paid the Treasury $1.8 billion.

WASHINGTON — The mortgage giant Freddie Mac earned $4.5 billion from October through December, its fifth-straight profitable quarter.

The government-controlled company credited fewer­ delinquencies on home loans and rising home prices for the gains.

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Freddie Mac said it paid a dividend of $1.8 billion to the Treasury and requested no ­additional federal aid.

The earnings compared with net income of about $619 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The government rescued Freddie and its larger sibling, Fannie Mae, during the financial crisis. Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to rescue them, the costliest bailout of the crisis.

Under a federal policy ­adopted last summer, Fannie and Freddie must turn over their quarterly profits to the government.

The change was made to ensure they pay the government back.

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