|By Andrew Dunn, The Charlotte Observer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The insurance giant has been a company in transition over the past few years, repositioning itself since the financial crisis to have more of an international presence while shedding its banking ventures. The company has also struggled of late with low interest rates, which have made it harder to make money on its huge investment portfolio.
Like many financial companies facing the same environment,
The new hubs in
The move comes as
The company grew steadily through the early 2000s, expanding into international markets and the banking world through its acquisitions of a retail bank unit and a mortgage business.
Then the financial crisis hit, sending the stock plummeting and creating heavy losses in 2009. The bank was forced to raise billions in capital through a stock sale, but did not take money from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout.
Though banking was never a large part of
The company failed the financial stress test mandated by the Federal Reserve for large banks last March and was not allowed to buy back stock.
That oversight led
In November, the company announced it would sell its
At the same time, the company has been bolstering its international presence. In 2010,
The company's earnings have also been under pressure by low interest rates, which greatly impact its bottom line.
Though the company's stock is up 12 percent so far this year, it remains 35 percent below its price five years ago.
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