Yet another life insurer is out of the Tarp picture. Not long after Genworth, MetLife and Protective Life announced bowing out of the ring for relief funds due to various circumstances, The Phoenix Cos. Inc. announced yesterday that it will no longer seek bailout funds under the U.S. Treasury Department's program.

The insurer's plans fell through after American Sterling Bank, a federal stock form savings bank headquartered in Sugar Creek, Missouri—the bank it had been approved to purchase in order to qualify for the program—was closed by the federal Office of Thrift Supervision last Friday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was appointed as a receiver of the bank, thereby terminating the acquisition agreement between Phoenix and American Sterling Corp., the bank's owner. Because of this appointment of the FDIC as receiver, American Sterling would not be able to satisfy its closing conditions under the acquisition agreement.

Phoenix said in a statement yesterday that it had pursued TARP "for potential additional financial flexibility in this difficult market environment, but remains well capitalized."

Earlier this month, Genworth announced it was notified by Treasury that the deadline it set for approval by the Office of Thrift Supervision to become a bank holding company wouldn't be extended. As a result, Genworth said it won't be able to complete its intended acquisition of Minnesota-based Interbank.

Last week, MetLife Inc., which had been a federally chartered bank holding company since 2001, elected not to participate in the program.

“MetLife is well positioned, with approximately $5 billion in excess capital, a strong balance sheet and leading market positions in our core group and individual insurance businesses, where our revenues continue to be healthy,” C. Robert Henrikson, chairman, president and CEO of MetLife, said in a statement. “MetLife has already taken actions to reinforce its strong financial position, including raising capital in the marketplace. We have therefore decided not to participate in the program.”

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