Insurer MetLife (MET) originated $11 billion in commercial mortgage loans in 2011, the largest annual production in the company's history, the firm said Monday.

That is up from $8 billion in commercial loans originated in 2010.

MetLife's portfolio of commercial mortgages is now $40 billion in loans outstanding.

MetLife Real Estate Investments, the CRE lending side of the business, buoyed its portfolio with real estate loans exceeding $200 million. One of the main loans was on a $350 million loan at 1540 Broadway in Manhattan; a $255 million loan on 155 North Wacker in Chicago; a $360 million loan on Park Meadows in Denver; and a $325 million loan on International Plaza in Tampa.

MetLife says it focuses on office, multifamily, industrial and retail properties in top metro areas.

The insurer posted earnings of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, or $1.06 a share, rising $51 million from a year earlier.

For the full year 2011, the insurance provider's net income rose to $6.7 billion, or $6.29 a share, from 2010 when it earned $2.7 million, or $3 a share.