Bank rep productivity declined in May, according to the latest Bank Insurance and Securities Association's Monthly Sales Productivity Benchmark, but to no one's surprise.

A choppy market made sales challenging for bank reps, particularly when it came to mutual funds. And while sales of fixed and variable annuities rose slightly, life insurance sales dropped significantly.

Advisors averaged $25,915 in fee and commission revenue in May, down 22% from April but predictably so, as the fees come in for the first quarter in April. "May wasn't too bad," says Scott Stathis, chief operating officer and managing director of Kehrer-LIMRA, which compiles the data for BISA. "It could have been a lot worse."

March and April are typically some of the strongest months in an advisor's calendar due to tax season. That means there's lots of money in motion because more people turn to annuities for their tax deferral, and CDs tend to mature because people bought them the year before with their refunds. March 2010 was a super month for advisors, who averaged $32,296 in fees and commissions-the month before those quarterly fees hit. April, in which bank reps with any fee business usually see a substantial jump in production, was only 2% higher than March in average fees and commissions.

However, it may be all downhill from here, for a little while at least. Kehrer-LIMRA's Rate Watch notes that the spread between effective yields and Treasuries have crossed over, so a five-year annuity is now paying less than a five-year CD.

"That doesn't bode well for fixed annuities," Stathis says. Moreover, sales are traditionally slower in the summer. Stathis anticipates that June's numbers may be down by an additional 20%. However, he hastens to add, "that's just a guess!"



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