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MetLife Chairman and CEO Steven A. Kandarian characterized the sale as "an important step in the process of exiting retail banking [that] allows MetLife to maintain its strategic focus as a global insurance and employee benefits leader." The next big step, according to the company, is to deregister MetLife as a "bank holding company." Once that happens, MetLife will no longer be subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve, and it may be easier for the company to justify returning capital to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.
Nevertheless, shares were down 0.3% on the news at $36.23.