Annuity sales at banks and savings institutions amounted to $4.7 billion in March, unchanged from the total for March 2004.[@@]

Although sales of fixed annuities were weak, sales of variable annuities through banks showed striking gains, according to Kenneth Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J.

While FA sales fell 17%, to $2.4 billion, VA sales rose 30%, to $2.3 billion.

Kenneth Kehrer, head of the firm that conducted the study, says a recent increase in fixed indexed annuity sales through financial institutions has helped offset the effects of low interest rates on sales of traditional fixed annuities.

March is typically a strong month for annuity sales because bank customers are thinking about the April 15 tax filing deadline and looking for ways to cut their taxes, says Brad Powell, president of the institutional marketing group at Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Lansing, Mich., the survey sponsor.