Slideshow Full Retreat: Nonbank Financial Firms Abandon Banking

  • June 05 2013, 8:00am EDT
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Insurers and brokerages have myriad reasons for setting up bank subsidiaries, including lower funding costs and a broader array of customer services. But increased regulatory scrutiny is prompting many to change their thinking. Here's a look at nonbanks that have or are looking to shed bank charters, citing the cost and time commitment related to complying with the Dodd-Frank Act and other obligations.

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Two years ago MetLife ranked among the nation's top 10 bank holding companies, but it has since shuttered its nationwide mortgage division and sold its deposits to GE Capital Retail Bank. It was the first major nonbank to announce plans to exit the banking business, citing increased regulatory pressure, and several others soon followed suit.

Related Article: Regs Push MetLife Out of Banking, into Shadow System

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Hartford Financial Services Group

The insurance giant bought the beleaguered Federal Trust Bank in Florida in 2009 largely to become eligible to receive $3.4 billion from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program. Hartford exited Tarp in 2010 and in late 2011 sold Federal Trust to CenterState Bank, saying banking was no longer "core" to its business.

Related Article: Hartford Bank Sale Bears Resemblance to FDIC Deals

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Prudential Financial

Prudential hasn't exited the banking business entirely, but its sale of roughly $800 million of deposits last year to TCF Financial (TCB) left it with only a trust operation that doesn't require it to have federal deposit insurance. The sale allowed it to "deregister as a savings and loan holding company prior to the effectiveness" of certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, Prudential said in a regulatory filing. Its Prudential Bank & Trust now has just $60 million of assets, down from $2 billion a year ago.

Related Article: TCF to Buy $805M in Deposits From Prudential Unit

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Allstate Financial

The "changing regulatory environment" was the reason Allstate executives gave for their decision in early 2011 to sell $1.1 billion of deposits to Discover Financial Services (DFS). The deal later fell apart, however, and Allstate wound up liquidating the bank last year.

Related Article: Discover's Deal to Buy Allstate's Banking Deposits Fails

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Shelter Insurance

The Columbia, Mo., company essentially liquidated its 14-year-old bank in March, and blamed the federal government for "putting us out of business." Its main gripe was that the Dodd-Frank Act would have required it to provide regulators with two sets of financial statements, each based on different accounting principles. Those filings would have added $1 million in annual expenses, the bank's chief executive told American Banker earlier this year.

Related Article: Reg Burden Prompts Another Insurer to Give Up on Banking

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Ameritas Mutual Holding

The Lincoln, Neb., life insurance company said in June 2012 that it was selling its Virginia thrift subsidiary, Acacia Federal Savings Bank, to Customers Bancorp (CUBI) because it no longer wanted to be in the banking business. Its exit was put on hold, though, after Customers called off the deal in April, citing delays in receiving regulatory approval.

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T. Rowe Price

The Baltimore investment firm disclosed in a regulatory filing last week that it is selling its 13-year thrift unit to the son of Brazilian banking magnate Moise Safra for $24 million. "We anticipate that new regulations designed for banks…would significantly impact our ability to manage key aspects of our core investment management business," a T. Rowe Price spokesman told American Banker. The sale is expected to close later this year, at which point the bank will be renamed and relocated to New York City.

Related Article: T. Rowe Price to Sell Bank Unit, Citing Compliance Burden

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