Banks sold $2.3 billion in long-term retail mutual funds in February, slightly off from January, but down significantly from the same month in 2002, according to the Kehrer-Invest Bank Mutual Fund Sales Survey.

Sales sank 2% from January’s figures, but fell 23% from the same period last year. The study’s authors point out that February’s trailing sales might have been even weaker since the month contained four less business days than January.

"The Investment Company Institute reported that U.S. sales of long-term mutual funds were down 22% in February [from the previous month], so once again, bank mutual fund sales held up better than their competitors," said Lynn Niedermeier, president of Invest Financial Corp.

The study was conducted by Kenneth Kehrer Associates of Princeton, N.J. and co-sponsored by Invest Financial Corp. of Tampa.

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