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MetLife to Shut Down

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Less than three years after it was launched, MetLife Home Loans is going out of business.

MetLife Bank, N.A., acquired most of the operations for MetLife Home Loans in August 2008 from First Horizon National Corp.

The Irving, Texas-based lender went on to become a top-15 lender, originating $37 billion in 2009 and $22 billion in 2010.

But by last year, parent MetLife Inc. was no longer interested in operating a bank and putting itself at a competitive disadvantage over its insurance company rivals.

So in July it announced plans to sell the bank. That decision was followed in October with a disclosure that it also planned to sell the mortgage unit.

But no buyer was found for MetLife Home Loans, the company said in a bulletin to its correspondent clients Tuesday.

“Regrettably, we have been unsuccessful in completing an acceptable transaction,” the notice from MetLife Executive Director Rick Skogg stated. “Therefore, we have made the decision to wind-down all MetLife Home Loans’ forward origination business, including the Institutional Lending Group.”

The message went on to say that staffing will be maintained as the pipeline is closed out, and all loan commitments will be honored.

No final date was mentioned in the notice.

A MetLife correspondent customer told Mortgage Daily that the loss of any mid-tier mortgage player is a blow to the market.

A statement from the company indicated that MetLife Inc. will continue to originate reverse mortgages.

The majority of the pipeline is expected to close within 90 days.

The statement also indicated that GE Capital Financial Inc. agreed to acquire most of MetLife Bank, N.A.’s depository business.

MetLife employed 5,507 mortgage employees as of Sept. 30, 2011.

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