Industry News

Derivatives help put Freddie Mac $211 million in the red

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Mortgage repurchaser Freddie Mac reported a first-quarter loss of $211 million Thursday, which the company attributed primarily to losses on derivate investments it uses to hedge against changing interest rates. The loss amounted to 46 cents per share, compared with net income of $2 billion, or $2.80 per share, for the same period in 2006. Freddie Mac helps mortgage lenders make loans by repurchasing mortgages on the secondary market, and by guaranteeing loans securitized and sold on Wall Street. The company reported 16 percent annualized growth in its guarantee portfolio, to $1.5 trillion, and 6 percent growth in its retained portfolio. At $714 billion, the retained portfolio remains $9 billion below a voluntary cap Freddie agreed to maintain while it overhauled its books in the wake of an accounting and management scandal. Thursday's report marked a return to regular quarterly financial reporting -- five years after the scandal broke. "We're making measurable progre...