MetLife, GE close deal for $6.4 billion in bank deposits

MetLife Inc said on Monday it had closed the sale of its deposit business to General Electric Co , a move that allows the U.S. insurer to drop its registration as a bank holding company and provides GE Capital with an alternative source of funding for its lending business.

The deal, for $6.4 billion in bank deposits, had been in the works for more than a year with regulatory review the main reason for the delay.

The two companies in September tweaked the deal structure to make it subject to the approval of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, rather than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, and won approval in mid-December.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE reached the deal to buy the deposit-taking unit in December 2011, with an eye toward making its GE Capital finance unit less dependent on borrowing.

New York-based MetLife said the deal reflected its desire to focus on its insurance and employee benefit operations.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Dale Hudson)