Monday, August 5, 2013

SunTrust to finance commercial mortgages for MetLife

MetLife and SunTrust Banks, two companies with substantial presences in Charlotte, on Monday announced a deal in which the bank will finance commercial real estate mortgages originated and managed by the insurance company.

Under the three-year agreement, SunTrust will fund up to $5 billion in mortgages for MetLife's new real estate investment management platform.

According to MetLife's 2012 annual report, it originated $9.6 billion in commercial mortgages last year, down from $11.1 billion in 2011.

“Our goal is to be one of the top five institutional real estate investment managers, and with this mandate from SunTrust, we are confident the company is headed in the right direction,” Robert Merck, global head of MetLife Real Estate Investors, said in a press release.

Commercial mortgages make up the largest portion -- roughly 75 percent, according to the annual report -- of the mortgages MetLife holds as investments. The largest percentage of those commercial mortgages -- 19.7 percent, or $7.9 billion -- are in south Atlantic states.

SunTrust's mortgage banking division lost $76 million in the second quarter, down from a loss of $116 million a year ago.

This year, the New York-based insurer announced that it will open a U.S. retail hub in Charlotte, in Ballantyne Corporate Park. Meanwhile, the Atlanta-based bank’s new regional headquarters building is under construction in SouthPark.