Fed reaps $77 billion profit in 2011

The profits were revealed as part of the Fed's annual financial statement, which indicated the Fed was retreating from the unique investments it took following the financial crisis and instead opting for investments more typical for the central bank.

Overall assets held by the Fed at the end of the year totaled $2.919 trillion, which is a $491 billion increase from 2010. However, the Fed loaded up on Treasury bonds last year, buying $683 billion. At the same time, it reduced its holding in debt issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by $45 billion and other mortgage securities by $156 billion.

The Fed's investment in insurance giant American International Group (AIG) also waned in 2011. The Fed wound down $47 billion it had invested in the firm in 2011, including the $20.6 billion line of credit it had established with the company, which was at the forefront of the financial meltdown.