Annuity sales through banks dropped to their lowest level since 1999, according to Bank Insurance & Securities Research Associates, a bank brokerage industry group.

In 2012, banks sold $29.6 billion in annuities, down 20% from 2011. Fixed annuities fell 33% to $11.9 billion, while variable annuities slipped 10% to $17.7 billion, according to the data.

“We have obviously been in a survival of the fittest mode lately, but the good news is that we have some very solid product partners in the bank channel who have stayed the course and provided exceptional value to their distribution partners through these tough times,” Scott Stathis, managing director of BISRA, said in a statement.

Western National was the top seller of fixed annuities through banks, with Nationwide coming in second.  In variable annuities, Prudential was the leader.

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