* Deadline for capital plan had been Sept. 30
* MetLife now has until early January for plan
* Recently tweaked bank deal to close faster
Oct 1 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve has again extended the deadline for MetLife Inc to resubmit capital plans while the insurer works to complete a sale of its bank deposit-taking operations to a unit of General Electric .
In a filing with securities regulators on Monday, MetLife said it received notice from the Fed last week, granting an extension until Jan. 5, 2013. The deadline had been Sept. 30, which itself was an extension of a June deadline.
MetLife has a bank holding company charter because of the bank and is therefore overseen by the Fed. Last March, the company failed a stress test and was blocked by the U.S. central bank from raising its dividend or buying back shares.
Without the extension, MetLife would have been forced to submit another plan for buybacks or dividends, one that would likely have been rejected yet again because it still owns the bank. MetLife has said that it hopes to be able to return capital once it is rid of the banking operations.
Last year GE Capital agreed to buy the deposit-taking operations of the online bank, but the deal has been held up by regulatory reviews. GE and MetLife tweaked the deal in September so that instead of the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is now in charge of approving the sale.
Analysts have said the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp was slowing down the deal with inquiries to GE and that the switch to the OCC may mean the deal can close faster.
(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Gary Crosse)
Keywords: METLIFE FED/