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MetLife to Help State Street Affiliates Make Commercial Mortgage Loans

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Another life insurer is talking about the size of its commercial mortgage lending operations.

MetLife’s institutional asset management arm announced today that it has agreed to work with State Street Corp. to originate up to $2 billion in commercial mortgage loans over multiple years.

The MetLife unit, MetLife Investment Management, will make and manage the loans.

Clients of State Street affiliates, and State Street itself, will supply the cash, the companies say.

The announcement comes a day after the real estate finance arm of Prudential Financial Inc. announced that it originated a total of $8.1 billion in commercial mortgage loans in the first half of the year and has the capacity to make a total of $15 billion in commercial mortgage loans in 2018.

(Related: Prudential’s Real Estate Finance Arm Describes Its Lending Targets)

Robert Merck, a senior managing director at MetLife’s asset-management unit, said the State Street deal will help the unit offer borrowers a wider range of real estate financing options.

MetLife and some other life insurers have been trying to cope with the effects of low interest rates, and regulatory and accounting rule uncertainty, by expanding operations in other sectors, such as investment management and mortgage lending.

MetLife and State Street already have a commercial mortgage market relationship.

State Street’s State Street Bank and Trust Company serves as the fund administrator for MetLife’s MetLife Commercial Mortgage Income Fund L.P., according to a presentation MetLife prepared for the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System.

The fund has a commitment of $529 million from MetLife, including five MetLife affiliates, and aims to pay investors an annualized distribution of 6% to 7%, according to a presentation slidedeck posted by the San Diego retirement system’s board.

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