Banks' second-quarter sales of fixed annuities of $4.1 billion were down a massive 52% from the same period a year earlier, according to a joint report by Beacon Research and the American Bankers Insurance Association.

Fixed annuity sales were down 3.1% from the first quarter this year, although the report noted that 60% of insurers saw an increase in fixed annuities sold through banks. "The second quarter of 2009 was a tough act to follow," concedes Judith Alexander, director of sales and marketing at Beacon Research. "Rates started falling and credit spreads started narrowing, so fixed annuity rates weren't as competitive relative to CDs."

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