Three months after putting its "forward" mortgage origination business on the block, MetLife Inc. announced Tuesday it had shut the operation down. Most of the 4,300 employees who work in the unit will lose their jobs, the insurance giant said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Among funders, MetLife Home Loans ranks 10th nationwide. As reported by National Mortgage News, MetLife Home Loans has been on the auction block with a handful of bidders, including American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc., EverBank, and PNC Bank eyeing certain production units and/or branches.

Investment bankers and other advisors say none of these bidders wanted to pay up for MetLife's origination arm. Some of these suitors have already entered into talks with branch managers and loan officers of the lenders top producing offices.

In a statement the insurer said "MetLife Home Loans, the residential mortgage division of MetLife Bank, will no longer accept new loan applications for forward mortgages. MetLife Home Loans continues to originate reverse mortgages."

It added: "MetLife Home Loans will honor all contractual commitments for loans in process and expects the majority of loans to close in 90 days."

But MetLife will continue to service its $84 billion servicing portfolio, though the insurer likely will attempt to sell that asset as well.

The future of MetLife's warehouse lending division is unclear. Sources told NMN that the insurer may keep that business. Early Tuesday a bank spokesman declined to comment on the warehouse unit.

MetLife expects $90 to $110 million, after tax, in costs related to exiting the business to be incurred over the next year, with no expected impact on the company's operating earnings.

In late December MetLife announced that GE Capital Financial Inc. had agreed to acquire most of MetLife Bank's depository business, including certificates of deposit and money market accounts.

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