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MetLife sells $6.4B in bank deposits to GE

The Associated Press

General Electric has completed its acquisition of $6.4 billion in MetLife's bank deposits as the insurer plans to get rid of its designation as a bank holding company.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal is part of MetLife Inc.'s plan to exit retail banking. The company said Monday that it's begun taking the steps necessary to deregister as a bank holding company. The insurer has already pared other types of lending, announcing a year ago that it was leaving the home loan business.

MetLife became a bank holding company in 2001

Banks are dealing with tougher regulation in the aftermath of the financial crisis. And as a holding bank, MetLife was subject to the Federal Reserve's "stress tests," which tested how banks would weather another serious downturn. The Fed has not allowed MetLife to increase its dividend or buy back shares.

Buybacks can help support earnings per share, while dividends return cash to shareholders.

General Electric Co., which is based in Fairfield, Conn., said the acquisition helps increase and strengthen its funding base. The company's financial arm has acquired the business, which has 40 employees.

MetLife's stock fell 42 cents to $35.92 in morning trading. GE shares shed a penny to $21.12.