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A statue stands atop Grand Central Station in front of the MetLife building in New York.  Photo by REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.

Should the government label companies as ‘too big to fail’? MetLife asks court to hold off on ruling

The insurer said in a court filing that the case should be halted pending a government report requested by President Donald Trump.

The company took the government to court in 2015 to appeal its labeling of MetLife as “systemically important” — so big and enmeshed with the financial system that its collapse could threaten the economy.

Trump last week asked federal regulators to review the decision by the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The council was created by the 2010 Wall Street overhaul law to monitor the financial system and prevent another crisis.

A federal judge sided with MetLife last year, saying the government acted unreasonably. The government then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and a ruling was expected in the next few months.

In its filing Monday, New York-based MetLife said a delay “will enable the new administration to determine whether any of FSOC’s positions in this case should be reconsidered and whether it is appropriate for the government to continue pressing this appeal.”

MetLife says the label and stricter oversight would force the company to raises prices and limit the type of products it can offer. It is the largest U.S. insurance company by assets.

“At a minimum, the findings of the forthcoming report may substantially illuminate this court’s consideration of the issues on appeal,” the company said in its court filing.

The president on Friday directed the Treasury secretary to review the oversight council’s designation process and provide a written report within 180 days. Trump’s request noted that the designations “have serious implications for affected entities, the industries in which they operate and the economy at large.”

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