Housing regulator received nearly $8 billion from mortgage settlements

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recovered $7.9 billion from seven large financial firms last year as part of a slew of lawsuits over the sale of mortgage investments. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the amounts on Thursday even though news of the settlements had been released during the year.

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The FHFA sued 18 financial institutions in 2011 alleging securities law violations, and in some cases fraud in the sale of private-label securities between 2005 and 2007.

So far, six settlement have been reached along with a seventh with Wells Fargo, which the FHFA hadn't sued. 

Wells Fargo paid $335 million to stave off a lawsuit. 

The agency collected $475 million from Ally Financial, $250 million with Citigroup, $6.25 million with General Electric, $1.93 billion from Deutsche Bank, $4 billion from JPMorgan Chase and $885 million from UBS.

Despite the hefty settlements, the banks didn't admit to any wrongdoing.

The litigation could proceed next summer unless the remaining banks agree to settle out of court. 

Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government in 2008 and received nearly $190 billion to stay afloat.

Last year, they generated enough profits to pay Treasury an amount nearly equal to what they borrowed. But, technically, the dividend payments don't count toward paying down that government debt.

Congress is working on legislation that would eventually unwind the entities and shift the mortgage market back toward more private investment.