Banks’ sales of variable annuities waned in July, falling to $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion in June, according to the Kehrer-Jackson Monthly Annuity Sales Survey. Fixed annuities held their ground at $1.5 billion in sales, but wobbly VA sales brought total annuity sales at banks down by 7%.

“The market was down under 10,000 in July, so I guess people shied away from less-guaranteed products,” said Janet Cappelletti, associate research director at Kehrer-LIMRA. Backing up her theory, Cappelletti says that while VA sales were down 15% from June, mutual funds were also down, by 17%, to their lowest level this year, $4.2 billion. That said, “fixed annuities aren’t doing great either,” she says. “They’re not down but they’re not up, as they should be.”

It wasn’t all bad news, though. Banks’ overall production was saved by the quarterly hit of fee income, which kept sales figures steady. “Profit margins on investment programs were 28% in July, up from 21% in June,” Cappelletti says. “That’s mostly from fees, but profit penetration is substantially up.”

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