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Mortgage business is good for Uncle Sam

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Mortgage giant Freddie Mac earned $4.6 billion from January through March, helped by a stronger housing market.

The government-controlled company has now turned a profit in its past six quarters. It paid a dividend of $7 billion to the U.S. Treasury from its first-quarter earnings and requested no additional federal aid.

The earnings compared with net income of $577 million in the first quarter of 2012.

The government rescued Freddie and larger sibling Fannie Mae during the financial crisis after both incurred massive losses on risky mortgages. Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to them, the costliest bailout of the crisis. So far, the companies have repaid a combined $62.2 billion.

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

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