Bank-based advisors’ productivity increased 14% in December over November’s horrendous numbers, according to the latest Bank Insurance and Securities Association Monthly Productivity Benchmark.

Bank-based advisors produced an average $16,728 in December, up from $14,712 in November.

“That’s good, and something that seemed likely from our broker expectation polls,” which quiz a handful of advisors every month about where their businesses are headed, said Heywood Sloane, the managing director of BISA.

While he said he “wouldn’t bet the farm” on advisors’ expectations panning out, there does seem to be some correlation between what advisors say will happen with what occurs. If that holds true, January would be a better month than December in terms of broker productivity, Sloane said.

Bank-based advisors’ worst month in a decade occurred in February 2009, when they produced an average $14,187, but still, while November was not as bad, it was “not a good month,” Sloane said.

Platform reps fared worse in December, producing an average $678, down from $716 in November. Sloane said that this is because of the close competition fixed annuities saw from CDs, which are fierce rivals in the bank channel. Platform reps, who are otherwise known as licensed bankers, sell both.

In December the average five-year Treasury rate, on which fixed-annuity returns are based was 2.34%; at the same time, five-year CDs were paying 2.4%. “The low-rate environment has been tough on annuity sales,” Sloane said. “Low rates mean they’re just not as attractive as they were.”

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