Annuity sales in banks have gotten off to a poor start this year, according to Kehrer-LIMRA.

Total annuity sales in banks were 44% lower than in January 2009, Kehrer-LIMRA reports.

“We haven’t seen total annuity sales fall this low in a decade” says Janet Cappelletti, associate research director at Kehrer-LIMRA, a unit of LIMRA, Windsor, Conn.

About $2.4 billion of fixed and variable annuities were sold in banks in January, down from $4.2 billion in January 2009.

Bank channel sales of fixed annuities fell to $1.3 billion, down 61% from $3.5 billion.

Bank channel sales of variable annuities increased to $1 billion, from $700 million.

Banks sold $1.33 in fixed annuities for every $1 of variable annuities in January. At the start of 2009, this ratio stood at a record high of $5 to $1, Kehrer-LIMRA says.