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Freddie Mac is asking for $10.6 billion in additional federal aid after posting a big loss in the first three months of the year. It's another sign that the taxpayer bill for stabilizing the housing market will keep mounting.
The McLean, Va.-based mortgage finance company has been effectively owned by the government after nearly collapsing in September 2008. The new request will bring the total tab for rescuing Freddie Mac to $61.3 billion.
But the company's CEO Charles Haldeman said, "We are seeing some signs of stabilization in the housing market, including house prices and sales in some key geographic areas."
Freddie Mac set aside $5.4 billion to cover credit losses from bad mortgages, down from $7 billion in the final three months of last year.
Haldeman cautioned, however, that the housing market "remains fragile with historically high delinquency and foreclosure levels" and high unemployment.
Created by Congress, Freddie Mac and sibling company Fannie Mae buy mortgages from lenders and package them into bonds that are resold to global investors. As the housing bubble burst, they were unable to raise enough money to stay afloat, and the government effectively nationalized them.