- - Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Consumer confidence rises near recent high

NEW YORK — Americans are gaining faith that the economy is on the upswing. The monthly Consumer Confidence Index surged to the highest level since April and is approaching a post-recession peak.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose almost 10 points to 64.5, up from a revised 55.2 in November. Analysts had expected 59. The level is close to the post-recession peak of 72, which the index reached in February.

The surge in December builds on another big increase in November, when the index rose almost 15 points from the month before.


MetLife to sell deposits to move out of banking

NORWALK, Conn. — MetLife said Tuesday it plans to sell its U.S. retail deposit business to GE Capital as it moves away from being a bank holding company.

Financial terms were not disclosed. MetLife Inc., which offers insurance and employee benefit programs, said in July that it was exploring the sale of its banking operations to focus on its other business.

GE Capital’s banking business, GE Capital Financial, will acquire $7.5 billion in deposits. About $3 billion in other deposits are not part of the deal, but will be transferred out of MetLife Bank in the next six months. It has not yet been determined where the $3 billion will be transferred, said company spokesman John Calagna.

MetLife Bank began operating in 2001, offering retail savings products via the Internet.

Banks are facing tighter regulation under financial system overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Act.


Survey shows prices still falling across the country

U.S. home prices fell in most major cities for the second straight month, further evidence that the housing recovery will be bumpy and weigh on the broader economy in 2012.

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