MetLife to Sell Bank Unit to GE, Reverse Mortgage Business Stays

MetLife (NYSE: MET) announced today that GE Capital Financial Inc. (NYSE: GE) will acquire most of its depository bank business in a deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2012 under undisclosed terms. The bank announced in July it was looking for a buyer.

The company’s reverse mortgage business will remain unchanged, a MetLife spokesman told RMD in an email, although the bank name will eventually be phased out.

“The sale includes certificates of deposit and money market accounts. MetLife’s residential mortgage business is not part of this transaction,” the spokesman said. “We will continue to offer reverse mortgages under the ‘MetLife’ brand name, but the name ‘MetLife Bank’ will eventually be retired, as the company will no longer be in the depository banking business after the transaction closes.”

Under the agreement, GE Capital will acquire $7.5 billion in MetLife deposits, including money market accounts and certificates of deposit. Approximately $3 billion in custodial deposits associated with MetLife’s forward mortgage business and certain other deposits are not included in the transaction but will be transferred out of MetLife Bank over the course of the next six months, the company stated in a press release.

“This transaction with GE Capital ensures that customers of MetLife Bank will continue to be served by a high quality organization that already meets the financing needs of more than 100 million consumers,” said Steven Kandarian, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. in a statement. “At the same time, this agreement is a significant step toward MetLife’s no longer being a bank holding company.”

As of September 30, MetLife had $10.7 billion in deposits. The bank announced in October that it was seeking a buyer for its forward mortgage business.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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