MIAMI - Metropolitan Mortgage Co. this week said it has stopped originating loans and will sell its loan portfolio, reduce staff, and conclude all operations within six months.

The decision to shut down the Transamerica Corp. subsidiary came after a strategic review by Aegon NV of the Netherlands, which bought Transamerica last July.

"We've been helping Florida's homeowners since 1949, and we have left our mark," said Metropolitan Mortgage president Joseph L. Falk in a statement. "Metropolitan Mortgage is grateful for the opportunity to have served so many customers over the years."

The lender operates in several southeastern states under the name Metropolitan and in Georgia as Metropolis Mortgage.

All of its 194 employees, about half of whom are in South Florida, are to get outplacement help, including job-referral services, the company said.

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