Banks’ combined sales of fixed and variable annuities regained ground lost in July, hitting $2.9 billion in August, level with June’s sales. But most striking was variable annuities’ comeback, up 14% to $1.3 billion, 27% higher than they were in January, said Janet Cappelletti, associate research director at Kehrer-LIMRA, the firm that compiles banks’ annuity sales results.

“May, June and July all saw variable annuity sales coming down, but August redeemed them,” she said. At $1.5 billion, May’s variable-annuity sales mark the high point for the products in 2010. Variable annuities had flatlined for months at $1.1 billion while fixed annuities soared to a high of $2.5 billion in October. Fixed-annuity sales now stand at $1.6 billion.

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