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MetLife Growing Staff

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Despite a big drop in mortgage production at MetLife Bank, N.A., the company has added nearly 200 new mortgage employees this year while staffing has increased by a quarter over the past year.

The parent of Irving, Texas-based MetLife Home Loans said 15,307 residential loans were originated for $3.752 billion during the first quarter. Business tumbled from the closing quarter of last year when 25,234 mortgages were originated for $6.548 billion.

In the first three months of 2010, volume totaled 17,189 loans generated for $4.0 billion.

Bridgewater, N.J.-based MetLife Bank additionally closed 4,740 reverse mortgage for $628 million during the first quarter, more than the fourth quarter’s 4,423 units for $0.558 billion and also better than the year earlier period’s 2,819 reverse mortgages for $0.4 billion.

MetLife said it serviced 613,795 home loans for $116.066 billion as of March 31, increasing from 611,515 mortgages serviced for $115.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2011. At the same point last year, the servicing portfolio came in at just 598,446 loans for $109.2 billion.

Residential mortgage investments were $2.399 billion on March 31, increasing from $2.231 billion at the end of December and jumping from $1.488 billion on March 31, 2010.

MetLife also owned $38.087 billion in commercial mortgages, rising from $37.818 billion and also higher than $35.348 billion at the same point last year. Agricultural mortgage assets rose to $12.761 billion from $12.751 billion.

Parent MetLife Inc. reported first-quarter earnings of $830 million, a little better than a year earlier.

Unlike many of its competitors that have recently been reducing headcount — including more than 4,500 Wells Fargo & Co. layoffs, 1,500 Bank of America Home Loans positions impacted from branch closings and 400 layoffs disclosed by CitiMortgage Inc. — MetLife managed to increase its mortgage staff.

At the end of March, 4,956 people worked in mortgage lending, more than the 4,765 employed by MetLife at the end of last year and nearly a thousand more positions than a year earlier.

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