Fannie Mae’s mortgage portfolio increased by an annualized 21.4 percent in December, its first growth in 14 months, the mortgage giant said Tuesday.


Fannie Mae’s retained mortgage holdings totaled $727.2 billion at the end of December, up from $715.5 billion at the end of November, the company said in its monthly summary report.


Year-to-date, the government-sponsored enterprise’s portfolio decreased by an annualized 19.6 percent as it struggled to meet a Sept. 30 core capital requirement imposed by its regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Oversight, following a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal.


Both Fannie Mae and its fellow government-sponsored enterprise, Freddie Mac, have been rocked by accounting scandals. In December 2004, Fannie Mae replaced Franklin Raines, its chairman and CEO, who announced he was taking early retirement, and Fannie Mae’s chief financial officer, Timothy Howard, resigned Dec. 21.


Fannie Mae said Tuesday that its portfolio purchases rose to $28.8 billion in December from $16 billion the previous month, aided by a $19.6 billion increase in net retained commitments. Investment spreads widened and portfolio sales stayed modest, the company said.


December’s sharp growth followed shrinkage of 2.8 percent annualized in November.


Alan Greenspan, then-chairman of the Federal Reserve, last year told the House Financial Services Committee he sees “no reasonable basis” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to hold enormous mortgage portfolios, according to Forbes.


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