MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET) today issued the following statement regarding its participation in the Federal Reserve’s 2012 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) and the objection by the Federal Reserve to the company’s incremental capital distribution plan:
“MetLife is financially strong and well positioned for both the current environment and a potential further economic downturn. We are deeply disappointed with the Federal Reserve’s announcement. We do not believe that the bank-centric methodologies used under the CCAR are appropriate for insurance companies, which operate under a different business model than banks,” said Steven A. Kandarian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. “The established ratios used to measure insurance company capital adequacy, such as the NAIC’s risk-based capital ratio, show that MetLife is financially strong. At year-end 2011, MetLife had a consolidated risk-based capital ratio of 450%, well in excess of regulatory minimums.
“At year-end 2011, MetLife had excess capital of $3.5 billion. We project our excess capital will grow to $6 billion to $7 billion at year-end 2012, before any capital distribution actions. It continues to be our strong belief that excess capital should be returned to shareholders and we remain fully committed to doing so,” continued Kandarian. “In the capital plan we submitted, we requested approval for $2 billion in stock repurchases and an increase of MetLife’s annual common stock dividend from $0.74 per share to $1.10 per share.”
MetLife continues on track with its plan to cease being a bank holding company by the end of the second quarter of 2012. In addition to winding down the forward mortgage business of MetLife Bank, the company previously reached agreements to sell its depository and warehouse finance businesses.“MetLife emerged from the 2008-2009 financial crisis in a position of strength, and was the only one of the top 19 bank holding companies that did not participate in the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Today, we continue to demonstrate significant financial strength,” added Kandarian.
While MetLife’s business activities are predominantly in the insurance sector, by virtue of its ownership of MetLife Bank, it is a bank holding company. As one of the largest 19 bank holding companies by assets, MetLife was required to participate in the 2012 CCAR, and as a bank holding company with more than $50 billion in assets, it also was required to submit its capital plan to the Federal Reserve for review.