MetLife’s real estate arm gets first shot of cash: $5B

SunTrust offers up funds for commercial mortgages
August 05, 2013 04:30PM

MetLife’s new real estate arm is getting its first infusion of cash — $5 billion from SunTrust, Bloomberg News reported.

The funds are for commercial mortgage loans over the next three years; MetLife began an asset-management unit in October for institutional investors. The unit’s goal is to be one of the top five institutional real estate investment managers.

“Our focus is your top-tier markets in the U.S.,” Robert Merck, head of MetLife Real Estate Investors, told Bloomberg. “We cover the whole U.S. with our regional office network.”

The company, he said, is talking with potential clients such as pension funds, smaller insurers and banks to commit funds to the real estate unit.

SunTrust has been looking to add to property investments as the company’s portfolio climbs out from the financial crisis. The bank is Georgia’s biggest lender and saw second-quarter profits rise as bad-loan provisions dropped last month.

MetLife, according to a company statement, originated more than $9.6 billion in commercial mortgages last year and held $43.1 billion of the loans as of Dec.31. SunTrust has a portfolio that includes $59.2 billion in commercial loans and $42.3 billion of residential loans as of March 31, according to a regulatory filing. The bank reported had $172.4 billion in total assets. [Bloomberg]Julie Strickland