NU Online News Service, Oct. 20, 2003, 4:29 p.m. EDT – U.S. banks and savings institution branches are reporting only $2.2 billion in sales of long term mutual funds for August, down 27% from sales for August 2002, according to Kenneth Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J.

Lynn Niedermeier, president of Invest Financial Corp., Tampa, Fla., the company that sponsors the survey, says bank fund sales reached a 12-month high of $3.2 billion in May and have been falling ever since.

“While July and August are typically slow months for mutual fund sales, the recent declines are somewhat disheartening,” says Kenneth Kehrer, the researcher whose firm conducts the monthly bank fund sales survey.

Banks reported a much steeper average decline in long term fund sales than other channels reported.

While overall U.S. fund sales fell only 8% between July and August, fund sales at banks fell 21% between July and August, according to the Investment Company Institute, Washington.

“Banks captured mutual fund market share between January and May but have now lost some market share,” Niedermeier says.

But many bank investors have been leaving their cash in bank money market funds, and that means that “banks have an opportunity to be the mutual fund source of choice as investors return to the market,” Niedermeier says.