The American Bankers Insurance Association (ABIA) has released two studies that show bank and bank holding company annuity sales were noticeably stronger in the first quarter than they were in the first quarter of 2010.

Beacon Research Publications Inc., Evanston, Ill., is reporting in one study distributed by the ABIA, Washington, that sales of fixed annuities by U.S. banks and other U.S. depository institutions increased to $4.9 billion in the first quarter, up 16% from the total for the first quarter of 2010.

Insurers raised annuity interest rates between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, and the consumer demand pendulum seems to be swinging back toward fixed products and away from variable products, Beacon says.

Bank sales of fixed-rate annuities without market-value adjustments were especially strong, Beacon says.

Michael White Associates L.L.C. (MWA), Radnor, Pa., is reporting in the other study distributed by the ABIA that commission and fee income earned from the sale of annuities at bank holding companies increased to $748 million in the first quarter, up 28% from the total for the first quarter of 2010.

MWA has based those figures on an analysis of data from 942 large, top-tier bank holding companies.

MWA also looked at commission and fee income earned from the sale of annuities at 6,850 commercial banks and other financial institutions supervised by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Annuity income at the banks increased to $204 million in the first quarter, up 9.7% from the total for the first quarter of 2010.

- Allison Bell

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