MetLife Looks to Sell Forward Mortgage Business, Reverse Remains

NewImageTop reverse mortgage producer MetLife Inc. is seeking a buyer for its forward business, but remains committed to its reverse mortgage lending operations.

“We plan to continue our reverse mortgage origination operations, but as a public company, we continuously evaluate all of our businesses based on market conditions and the regulatory environment,” said David Hammerstrom, a spokesman for MetLife.

MetLife announced in July that it was looking for a buyer for its bank, which includes savings accounts certificates of deposit and money market accounts. At the time, it cited increasing banking regulations as a reason for the decision.

The announcement to sell its forward mortgage business noted the company’s core focus on global insurance and employee benefits.

“We determined that remaining in the forward mortgage business would require the company to expend a tremendous amount of resources to effectively compete in and profitably grow the business in today’s uncertain marketplace and regulatory environment,” Hammerstrom said. “Doing so would divert these resources away from MetLife’s primary focus on its global insurance and employee benefits businesses.”

The reverse mortgage business will remain.

“[The] reverse mortgage business has operating and capital characteristics that are different from the forward mortgage business,” he said.

MetLife is the No. 1 provider of reverse mortgages in the U.S., now occupying the top position following the exits of Wells Fargo and Bank of America from the business. It began originating mortgages in 2008 through its MetLife Home Loans division and originated 3,879 reverse mortgages in 2010.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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