Well, at last one of the GSEs is profitable — sort of. Freddie Mac posted net "comprehensive" earnings $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter, but must turn around and pay the U.S. Treasury a $1.7 billion dividend, which means it ultimately lost money during the period.

According to figures released Friday morning, Freddie posted net earnings of $619 million and other additional comprehensive income of $887 million. But when the dividend payment to Treasury is factored in it will have a negative net worth of $146 million and is requesting a draw of that amount from the government.

In a statement the GSE said its performance was aided by lower charges tied to single-family losses, and an improvement on its derivatives holdings thanks to a more stable interest rate environment.

It also touted a vastly improving credit picture on its book of business. At yearend serious delinquencies fell to 3.58% from 3.84% at Sept. 30. Its average LTV is now 67% compared to 74% in 2007.

New loans being purchased by Freddie have an average FICO score of 759 compared to 722 in 2005.

Meanwhile, Fannie Mae continued its money losing ways in the fourth quarter, posting a net loss of $2.4 billion for the period and $16.9 billion for the year. In 2010 it lost $14 billion.

For all of 2011 Freddie lost $1.2 billion — but that excludes a $7.6 billion dividend payment to Treasury. In 2010 Freddie almost broke even but had to pay the U.S. Treasury $13 billion in dividends.

Both GSEs were placed into conservatorships in September 2008.

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