They might not be popular, but bailouts sure are proving to be lucrative. The Federal Reserve made its biggest profit ever in 2010, pulling in nearly $82 billion. Much of that came from interest on the $1 trillion batch of mortgage-backed securities the Fed snapped up at the height of the financial crisis in an attempt to stabilize markets. But some of the profit also comes from its controversial program of buying Treasury bonds to encourage lending. Almost all of the profits will go into the Treasury Department’s coffers, with the rest being divided among member banks.
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