MetLife hit $14.3B in lending for global CRE in 2015

The loan volume marks a record in insurance giant’s 140-year history
January 26, 2016 05:15PM

Insurance giant MetLife made company history in 2015 with $14.3 billion in loans for commercial real estate globally — an all-time high in the insurer’s 140-year history.

In a statement Tuesday, MetLife said this was an 18 percent increase from $12.1 billion in 2014. Through direct acquisitions and joint-venture partnerships in 2015, the New-York based insurer committed to investing about $1 billion in real estate equity, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S.’ largest insurer is looking for a higher yield for its more than $500 billion investment portfolio amid low interest rates, Bloomberg reported.

MetLife teamed up with Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and, and closer to home, formed a real estate joint venture with the New York State Common Retirement Fund. The insurer sold the pension fund a 49.9 percent stake in an investment portfolio comprising seven properties valued at more than $1.4 billion.

The partnership was announced earlier this month, with the insurer remaining the majority owner of the $1.4 billion portfolio and will be overseen by MetLife Investment Management.

The move comes in the wake of federal regulators investigating the company’s “systemically important financial institution,” or SIFI, designation. After the global financial crisis last decade, that label was created for companies that regulators consider too big to fail and require MetLife to hold higher levels of capital. [Bloomberg]Dusica Sue Malesevic