NU Online News Service, March 23, 2004, 1:49 p.m. EST – U.S. bank sales of annuities continued to decline in January.[@@]

Total bank sales of fixed and variable annuities fell to $3.3 billion that month, down 17% from the total for January 2003, according to the latest Kehrer-Jackson National Monthly Bank Annuity Sales Survey.

The institutional marketing group at Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Lansing, Mich., sponsors the survey.

Kenneth Kehrer, head of the Princeton, N.J., firm that performs the survey, says bank VA sales held up better than bank FA sales.

Bank VA sales increased to $1.3 billion in January, up 18% from the figure for January 2003, but bank FA sales fell 14%, to $2 billion.

FA sales probably fell in January because the difference between FA crediting rates and interest rates on short-term bank certificates of deposit was smaller than it used to be, Kehrer says.