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Fannie to U.S.: We need another $15.3 billion

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Battered by the housing crisis, mortgage finance company Fannie Mae said Friday that it needs another $15.3 billion in bailout money from the federal government.

Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500), which is controlled by the government, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $16.3 billion, including $1.2 billion in dividend payments to the Treasury Department. This is down from $25.2 billion a year earlier and $19.8 billion in the third quarter.

For 2009, however, Fannie's losses ballooned to $74.4 billion, compared with $59.8 billion in 2008.

Fannie and its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, are the primary source of mortgage funding in the nation. They bundle home loans that conform to certain standards into securities, attach a guarantee that they will be paid, and sell them to investors. The process gets money back to the banks and other lenders that originate the loans.

In the past year, the two have played a central role in President Obama's efforts to stem foreclosures and keep people in their homes.

Continuing problems with Fannie Mae's mortgage portfolio are still straining its finances. Some 5.38% of its single-family loans were more than 90 days delinquent, up from 2.42% a year earlier.

Total nonperforming loans were $216.5 billion at year-end, compared with $198.3 billion in the prior quarter and $119.2 billion in the prior year-end.

On the bright side, Fannie reported that the number of loans turning seriously delinquent has stabilized. It predicts that credit-related expenses in 2010 will be lower than in 2009, absent further economic deterioration.

Fannie Mae said it is working to reduce its credit losses by helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. During 2009, it completed 200,339 loan workouts and initiated 333,300 trial modifications under Obama's loan modification program.

Since it was taken over by the federal government in September 2008, Fannie Mae has received $60.9 billion from the Treasury Department.

Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) reported on Wednesday a fourth-quarter loss of $7.8 billion, compared to $23.9 billion a year earlier. The company lost $21.6 billion for the year, an improvement from 2008 losses of $50.1 billion.

Freddie Mac, which has received $50.7 billion in taxpayer funds, did not request any additional money.

In late December, the Treasury Department lifted a $200 billion limit on the amount it was ready to pump into each of the two mortgage firms. To top of page

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