MainStay Investments, New York Life Insurance Co.'s proprietary fund unit, is actively embracing banks for the first time, but in way that minimizes costs in uncertain times. Executives at MainStay said they plan to sell its products through the parent company's wholesalers that already sell annuities to banks instead of developing relationships with banks on its own.

Andy Reiss, a VP and national sales manager for New York Life's bank channel, said that this is an opportunity to develop "stronger partnerships" with banks by giving them more investment choices. "This will be done with one sales force rather than multiple wholesalers selling to the same banks," he said. "Banks don't like that for obvious reasons."

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