BestCashCow first reported on an agreed acquisition by GE Capital of MetLife's online bank back in 2011. The acquisition was finally consumated on January 14, 2013. A GE press release that day announced: "GE Capital Retail Bank, a Federal Savings Bank, announced today that it finalized the acquisition of MetLife's deposit base and online deposits business. The deal adds approximately $6.4 billion in deposits, 40 employees, and an established online banking platform." Financial terms of the transaction, which has been approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), were not disclosed.
Other than the change in name, the acquisition should not be noticeable to MetLife customers. Margaret Keane, CEO of GE Capital Retail Bank and GE Capital’s Retail Finance business stated, “We will be able to leverage our existing infrastructure and capabilities to seamlessly integrate MetLife’s online deposit business and serve these valued customers.”
GE Capital is maintaining MetLife’s fairly competitive online savings rate, and they have added several CD products. All of the products offered by GE Capital Retail Bank can be reviewed here or on GE Capital Retail Bank’s own website. More new online products, some of which may be very competitive, are likely on the way. Dori Abel, Vice President of Communications for GE Capital Retail Bank, stated “We are focusing on integrating the business while continuing to offer the existing deposit products. We will gather additional consumer insights as our plans are to continue growing the deposits business with product offerings that customers value.”
Of import to consumers, GE Capital seems to be maintaining complimentary Identity Theft Resolution Services through Identity Theft 911®. For many years, Metlife Bank used this as a major selling point for its online products.
Customers considering depositing money with GE Capital’s new online bank should be very careful not to confuse it with GE Capital’s commercial paper program, GE Capital Invest Direct, which continues to offer rates as high as 1.11% APY on deposits over $50,000. This program is unsecured debt (i.e., not FDIC insured) and offers a rate of return that is not competitive with other equivalent long term debt of GE and other corporations with similar credit. BestCashCow strongly recommends that retail consumers avoid this program.
Before depositing money consumers should compare all rates offered by GE Capital as well as review the best online savings rates and the best CD rates of other online and local banks.