MetLife Will Layoff As Many As 4,300 Employees, Closing Mortgage Unit

MetLife Manhattan Skyscraper Building Tower New York City

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MetLife will close its residential mortgage forward origination business and lay off most employees in the unit, the company announced in an Securities and Exchange filing after the closing bell today.MetLife has said that a majority of the 4,300 employees in MetLife Home Loans, the residential mortgage division of MetLife Bank NA, would lose their jobs.

“MetLife’s entire retail banking business, including mortgages, represented under two per cent of MetLife’s 2011 operating earnings as of September 30,” the company said in a statement.

The company expects to book $90 to $110 million in charges as it exits the business, spread over the next year.  MetLife said it did not forecast any impact to operating earnings.

Mortgages already in process will continue forward, which MetLife hopes to complete within the next 90 days. The insurance firm will continue to service current customers and maintain its reverse mortgage origination practice.

At the end of last year, the Park Avenue based company shopped its retail division to GE Capital.  MetLife decided to exit the business after it faced additional regulatory requirements that it was forced to meet as a bank holding company.

Executives were not immediately available for comment.