Total bank annuity sales climbed to $5.1 billion in December 2008, up 37% from the December 2007 total.

The volume of fixed annuity sales made by banks tripled to $4.3 billion, up from $1.4 billion, according to Kenneth Kehrer Associates, a unit of LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn.

Bank variable annuity sales fell to $1.1 billion, from $2 billion.