MetLife, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!met/quotes/nls/met (MET 37.86, -0.75, -1.94%) announced today that it issued more than $1.5 billion in agricultural commitments in 2009. The company's agricultural investments unit, MetLife Agricultural Investments, provides mortgage loans on farms, ranches, timberland and agribusiness facilities throughout the United States.

In 2009, MetLife originated more than 450 timberland, livestock and farm operation-related loans, even as the industry generally saw stricter credit requirements and a decline in prices and real estate values. Each loan's terms were structured to meet the client's needs and are backed by MetLife's solid capital position and financial strength.

"MetLife has remained a strong player in the agricultural lending industry, despite a difficult economic environment," said Dan O'Neill, managing director of MetLife Agricultural Investments. "Our loan activity in 2009 demonstrates our commitment to helping businesses prosper on a long-term basis. We look forward to continuing to build upon our many decades of consistent lending to provide our customers with the options needed for financial growth and success."

MetLife is one of the largest mortgage lenders to agriculture in North America, with loan sizes in 2009 ranging from $500,000 to over $120 million depending on the region. MetLife's agricultural investment portfolio was $12.1 billion as of December 31, 2009. The company has served the agricultural community since 1917 and has four regional offices located in key industry areas across the U.S. Office locations include: Fresno, Calif., Overland Park, Kan., West Des Moines, IA. and Bloomington, Ill. In addition, a national timber office is located in Memphis, Tenn. For more information, visit www.metlife.com/ag.

MetLife, Inc. is a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.