MetLife will boost its staff of financial planners and other financial service representatives by 780, or nearly 10%, within the next three years to serve the African American community.
   The increase in staff is being driven by the dramatic increase in the number of baby boomers accumulating their own wealth or who are about to inherit estates from their parents. Within that population boom are a growing number of African Americans who need financial services, and New York-based MetLife will target those potential customers, says executive vice president Michael J. Vietri. The new financial services representatives will be spread across the United States but concentrated in those markets where demographic studies show a growing minority population.
   "There is a huge swell of baby boomers who need trusted financial advice," says Vietri. "If you look at the demographic changes of the last 50 years, or even the last 20 years, there is an increase in multiculturalism -of African Americans, women, Asians, Hispanics, and South Asians who need trusted advice. At the same time, our competition has been dwindling, which creates a vast opportunity."
   MetLife will hire people from all backgrounds, and will place many in metropolitan areas where the need is greatest, Vietri says. The hiring effort will be coupled with an increase in office infrastructure to support the new financial representatives.