The Federal Reserve posted profits of $52 billion in 2009. The abnormally high profits were due to extra interest on assets held by the Federal Reserve; the Fed increased its balance sheet substantially as a result of its efforts to combat the financial crisis. Some of the extra interest came from increased holdings of Treasuries; some came from loans the Fed gave to bail out financial firms. After paying for its operating expenses, the Fed returned $46 billion of its profits to the U.S. Treasury.
PS. Hope I spelled "seigniorage" right. Microsoft Word, in its great wisdom, keeps suggesting "senior age".
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.