A new variable annuity from MetLife Inc. is designed with older bank customers in mind.

Called Simple Solutions VA, it includes immediate lifetime withdrawals as a built-in feature and automatic payment increases when market performance is positive.

The policy is targeted primarily at bank consumers who are near or in retirement (ages 60 to 80) and who otherwise might not look at VAs, says MetLife, New York. It is built to be simple to explain and understand and to have lower costs than many other VAs, the company says.

The VA has one income protection benefit, four investment options, and a three-page application, says MetLife.

Details include:

- Guaranteed lifetime withdrawals of up to 6% of initial investment, depending on age of client. These withdrawals will not decrease, regardless of market performance.

- Automatic annual increase in available guaranteed lifetime withdrawals if the market performs well. Clients can lock in these increases even if the market declines later.

- Three asset allocation portfolios and a money market portfolio managed by MetLife Advisers L.L.C. Two of these are sub-advised by American Funds.

- Lower than typical cost structure. For instance, there is no front-end sales charge. The annual $30 account fee waived for account values of $50,000 or more. Charges are: 1% mortality and expense and administration charge; lifetime withdrawal guarantee rider charge of 1% for single life version (maximum charge on step-up is 1.6%) or 1.2% for joint life version (maximum charge on step-up is 1.8%); and investment management fees ranging from 0.59%-1.12%.

The issuing company is MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company, Irvine, Calif. In New York only, the issuer is First MetLife Investors Insurance Company, New York.

“Bank representatives may traditionally sell fixed annuities, but this variable product offers additional benefits their clients may need,” says Kevin Crowe, managing director-bank channel.