MetLife (MET) has found a new forum for a deal the company hopes will free it from banking regulators.

The global life insurer proposes to sell roughly $7 billion in deposits from its online bank to GE Capital Retail Bank, rather than GE Capital Bank, the company said in a regulatory filing late Friday.

The substitution moves review of the deal from the FDIC to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the $27 million-asset GE Capital Retail Bank, the consumer-lending arm of General Electric (GE).

Other terms of the transaction, which the companies announced in December, remain unchanged.

"From MetLife's perspective, the new arrangement does not impact the key terms of the agreement and still enables MetLife, Inc. to ultimately deregister as a bank holding company following completion of the deal," a spokesman for the insurer told American Banker.

A GE spokesman told American Banker that MetLife's deposits "are a better strategic fit for our retail bank, which requires a different approval process."

MetLife's push to exit the banking business took on added significance in March when its bank became one of four deposit-taking institutions to fail a Federal Reserve stress test.

Though the Fed extended until Sept. 30 the deadline for MetLife to submit a new capital plan, the setback has blocked the company from raising its dividend or buying back shares.

The FDIC's board met recently without taking action on the proposed deposit sale, which the companies had hoped to complete by mid-2012.

MetLife's shares rose 2.4%, to $35.70, in after-hours trading Friday. GE's shares were unchanged.

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