GE jumps into retail banking

December 29th, 2011 by James

GE jumps into retail bankingIn a deal that will let the capital arm of GE expand its funding base and lessen reliance on wholesale markets, General Electric Co agreed to buy life insurer MetLife Inc’s online bank on Tuesday.

The speed of the move took some analysts by surprise as GE only three weeks ago said it wanted to start taking bank deposits from consumers.

“This acquisition gets GE Capital halfway to the stated (funding) goal, much faster than consensus expectations,” Sterne Agee analyst Ben Elias said in a research note.

“We’ve got it in other parts of the world. We haven’t done it in this country. We’re going to do that very soon, just to give us more diversification in terms of how we fund the business,” GE Capital Chief Executive Mike Neal said at an investor conference earlier this month.

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