Fed rejection of MetLife may quicken mortgage biz exit
MetLife (MET) reaffirmed its desire to sell off the company's depository and mortgage origination businesses after the Federal Reserve rejected the insurer's capital distribution plan. MetLife issues mortgages through MetLife Bank and said it submitted a capital plan to the Fed in hopes of gaining an annual dividend increase and a resumption of stock purchases. The Fed rejected the plan, prompting MetLife to issue a statement: "We are disappointed that we cannot commence increased capital actions now, as our analysis shows that the company's current capital level and financial strength support capital action increases." The Fed's rejection of the plan, reaffirmed MetLife's commitment to winding down its status as a bank-holding company. Still, MetLife said it looks forward "to seeking and gaining approval of our capital plan from the Federal Reserve early next year." MetLife announced in mid-October that it would sell the bank's mortgage business due to an uncertain marketplace and a changing regulatory environment. In 2010, MetLife Home Loans ranked as the 11th largest mortgage servicer in the U.S., with its servicing business valued at $115.9 billion in the fourth quarter. The company also ranked 13th on the list of mortgage originators, holding 1.4% of the market and originating roughly $22 billion in mortgages last year. Write to Kerri Panchuk.