January 11, 2011

The Federal Reserve reported Monday its earnings jumped by more than 50 percent in 2010 to a record $80.9 billion on its massive holdings of securities, and it is turning the bulk of it over to the U.S. Treasury Department.

The $78.4 billion that the Fed is remitting to Treasury is also a record and is $31 billion more than a year earlier. In 2009 the Fed had net income of $53.4 billion.

The Fed’s portfolio has ballooned to $2.16 trillion, roughly triple its size before the financial crisis, as it purchased securities including U.S. government debt and mortgage-linked bonds in a move to drive down borrowing costs and stimulate the economy.

“The increase was due primarily to increased interest income earned on securities holdings during 2010,” the U.S. central bank said in releasing preliminary unaudited results.

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