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MetLife Sale Final; Good CD Rates Remain

GE Capital Retail Bank logoFor online savers, 2013 means out with MetLife, in with GE.

The long-delayed sale of MetLife Bank’s deposit business to GE Capital Retail Bank was completed late last week.

And the news so far is good. GE has kept MetLife’s competitive CD rates, including one deal that sits at the top of our CD Rates Leaderboard.

Originally struck in late 2011, and expected to close by mid-2012, the sale encountered delays in winning regulatory approvals, for reasons never fully explained.

In any event, owners of MetLife savings, money market and CD accounts are now customers of GECRB.

(GE Capital Bank, another GE subsidiary, was originally slated to be the buyer, but GECRB was substituted last fall.)

GE has assured holders of MetLife CDs that “the term and rate will remain the same until the CD matures.”

Under FDIC rules, a customer’s MetLife Bank accounts will be combined with existing GECRB accounts (e.g., brokered CDs) for deposit insurance limit purposes.

However, MetLife CDs opened before the sale was completed will be insured separately from other GECRB accounts, at least until the MetLife CDs mature.

Further details can be found on pages 20-21 of the brochure “Your Insured Deposits” (www.fdic.gov).

A federal savings bank headquartered in Draper, Utah, GECRB has a 5-star Bankrate Safe & Sound rating.

On Sept. 30, 2012, it had about $18 billion in deposits. The acquisition adds approximately $6.5 billion to that total.

The MetLife deal represents GE’s initial entry into retail deposit-gathering.

Although GECRB will maintain MetLife’s brick-and-mortar branch in Bridgewater, N.J., presumably it will be relying upon MetLife’s online banking platform and expertise to grow its deposit base.

A new website (www.gecrb.com) is already up and running. MetLife Bank customers can access their accounts by logging in using their current MetLife IDs and passwords.

Those owning both MetLife accounts and GECRB brokered CDs will not find the latter listed, because individual brokered CDs are carried on the books of intermediaries, not the bank.

Initially, GECRB hasn’t changed MetLife’s deposit product offerings or posted rates.

These include:

  • High Yield Savings — 0.85% APY (for $10,000-plus balances)
  • Money Market — 0.85% APY (for $10,000-plus balances)
  • 12-Month CD – 1.05% APY (for $25,000-plus balances)
  • 24-Month CD – 1.17% APY (for all balances)
  • 36-Month CD – 1.30% APY (for all balances)
  • 60-Month CD – 1.50% APY (for all balances)

The minimum deposit to open a CD continues to be $2,000.

It remains to be seen whether GECRB, which has been among rate leaders in brokered CDs, will do anything special to make its new online presence known.

Like offer a savings or CD rates promotion.

Let’s hope it does.

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