On the heels of last week’s announcement that life insurer Genworth Financial Inc. is ineligible to receive funds as part of the U.S. Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program, another big-name insurer is now out of the ring—this time, voluntarily.

MetLife Inc., which has been a federally chartered bank holding company since launching MetLife Bank, N.A. in 2001, has 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.”

The company is, however, one of the 19 U.S. banking organizations participating in the Treasury Department's capital planning exercise.

More than a year ago, the life insurer repositioned its investment portfolio in anticipation of the current recession, Henrikson said in the statement. In October 2008, it completed a $2.3 billion common stock offering, and earlier this year it remarketed more than $1 billion in debt.

“We are confident that we have the financial strength to continue to succeed now, and over the long-term,” he added.

Another insurer, Protective Life Corp., previously had dropped out because its contract to buy Bonifay Holding Co. Inc., a Florida bank holding company, needed to be completed with TARP capital before April 1 to qualify for the program.

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