Federal Reserve paid government a record $98.7 billion in 2014, reflecting big balance sheet

Economic Indicators Associated Press

The Federal Reserve says it paid the federal government a record $98.7 billion in 2014, a payment that reflects the central bank's earnings from holdings of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities purchased to keep long-term interest rates low to boost the economy.

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The Fed said that the 2014 payment is up 24 percent from a 2013 payment of $79.6 billion and is higher than the previous record of $88.4 billion paid in 2012.

The Fed is funded from interest earned on its portfolio of securities. After covering its expenses, the Fed pays the remaining amount to the Treasury Department. Those payments have surged in recent years, reflecting three rounds of bond purchases the Fed made to lower interest rates and boost economic growth following the Great Recession.