Strong fixed annuity sales helped increase bank annuity sales to $4.5 billion in July 2008, up 32% from the total recorded in July 2007.

Fixed annuity sales increased to $2.8 billion, from $1.3 billion, as variable annuity sales fell to $1.7 billion, from $2.1 billion, according to Kehrer-LIMRA Inc., a unit of LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn.

FA contracts sold well because they were offering higher interest rates than certificates of deposit were offering, says Greg Cocotte, executive vice president of Jackson National Life Distributors L.L.C., a unit of Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Lansing, Mich.