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Fed makes big profit from bailout

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Reserve banks that form the backbone of the nation's financial system transferred an extra-large payload to the U.S. Treasury last year, as they reaped interest from Wall Street bailouts.

The 12 Federal Reserve banks reported that their 2009 income totaled $53.4 billion, a jump of $17.9 billion, or one-third, from the year before.

The board of governors of the Federal Reserve system attributed this increase to a surge in the holding of mortgage-backed securities to prop up the devastated housing market.

The banks said they transferred most of this money, $47.4 billion, to the U.S. Treasury in 2009, an increase of 50%, or $15.7 billion, from the amount they transferred in 2008.

The assets of the Federal Reserve banks totaled $2.235 trillion at the end of 2009, a decline of $11 billion from the prior year. The banks reported that the biggest change in their portfolio was an increase of $919 billion in mortgage-back securities.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the financial disclosure "reaffirms our commitment to transparency and to the responsible stewardship of public resources." To top of page

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