Fannie Mae Reports 4Q Loss, Asks for $4.6 Billion from Government

Fannie Mae has once again come up short in its quarterly earnings for the latter half of last year, and the mortgage giant is looking to ask the U.S. government to foot the bill.

Fannie Mae said on Wednesday that it recorded a $2.4 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2011, between October and December, with a reported revenue of about $4.5 billion. To make up for the loss, the mortgage financier says it will be asking the government for another $4.6 billion.

Taxpayers spent $150 billion to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008. Since then, Fannie Mae has received upwards of $116 billion from the Treasury Department, making it the most expensive bailout of a single company.

In a statement, Fannie officials blamed their worsening losses on lowered interest rates on refinanced mortgages and an increasing number of homeowners defaulting on their mortgages.

“While economic factors, such as falling home prices and high unemployment, produced strong headwinds for our business again in 2011, we continued to grow a very strong new book of business as we have since 2009,” said Michael J. Williams, Fannie Mae’s president and CEO.

During the year, Fannie Mae funded the market with more than $650 billion in liquidity and maintained its focus on strengthening Fannie Mae’s ability to support and improve the housing industry.”