Annuity sales through banks and savings institutions rose to $3.1 billion in January, up from $2.8 billion in January 2005.

January’s fixed annuity sales in banks totaled $1.5 billion, down slightly from $1.6 billion a year earlier, according to a monthly survey by Kenneth Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J.

After increasing 56% in the first 4 months of 2005, bank sales of fixed annuities slumped for the remainder of the year, to just below the level they were a year earlier.

For much of the year, fixed annuity sales generally were hurt by a flat yield curve, says Greg Salsbury, executive vice president of Jackson National Life Distributors Inc.

But variable annuity sales in banks increased to $1.6 billion in January, from $1.2 billion in January 2005, according to Kehrer.