Just a few days after MetLife completed the acquisition of EverBank Reverse Mortgage, the largest U.S. life insurer has agreed to buy a residential mortgage business from First Horizon National Corp.
The purchase includes the home loan unit of First Horizon’s Tennessee Bank National Association outside of that state, with 230 offices in the U.S., the New York-based insurer said today in a statement. MetLife said it isn’t acquiring any subprime or Alt- A mortgages in the purchase. Terms weren’t disclosed.
“They’re probably calling a bottom on prices or close to it,” Alan Devlin, an analyst with Atlantic Equities LLP in London, said of MetLife in an interview. “It does tell you that they are willing to step in and make investments and confident enough in their capital levels.” Devlin rates MetLife “overweight.”
First Horizon will sell unpaid mortgages of $20 billion as part of the deal, and MetLife will service some of the bank’s loans, the lender said. The Memphis-based bank, Tennessee’s largest, said in its statement it would reduce assets in its mortgage banking segment by at least $3 billion by Dec. 31, freeing up $200 million in capital.
After the MetLife/EverBank deal was announced I was told that MetLife planned to invest heavily in the business and now I’m starting to become a believer. Could this be the vehicle that MetLife uses to push wholesale and retail reverse mortgages?