ABN Amro and Compass Bancshares have joined the list of banks giving high sales priority to mutual funds from Alliance Capital Management.

Amsterdam-based ABN Amro is the parent in this country of LaSalle National Bank in Chicago, Standard Federal Bancorp in Troy, Mich., and European American Bank in New York. Amro added Alliance to its A-list at the beginning of the month, said Kevin Rowell, the head of Alliance's bank sales division.

Compass, which is based in Birmingham, Ala., put Alliance on its preferred-provider list last week.

All told, Compass and Amro have 200 bank brokers in this country.

With its bank business growing, Alliance has hired a second "key account" manager for the bank sales division and plans to hire more.

The new hire is Eileen Sebold, whose title is associate key account manager. Ms. Sebold joined John Chase, who has had been on the job for years. The two work out of the New York office, calling on top executives at the banks that sell Alliance funds.

Mr. Rowell said he plans to add two more key account managers next year. Banks need key account managers more than brokerages and other distribution outlets do, he said, because there are so many levels of management to work with. "That relationship is really needed in this channel,'' he said.

Alliance, which manages $321 billion of assets, is predicting $1.5 billion of sales through banks this year, up from $970 million last year. The rise is expected largely because this year the company has snagged spots on the A-lists of several big banks, including First Union Corp and KeyCorp, and late last year made it onto Bank of America Corp.'s.

Amro and Compass are strong additions to Alliance's sales network, said Kenneth Kehrer, a consultant in Princeton, N.J. Though not huge, the banking companies' investment programs are big, he said. Compass had mutual fund sales of $175 million last year, and the LaSalle unit alone sold $360 million.

Compass and Amro "are certainly in the top 50 banks, and bring a lot of production,'' Mr. Kehrer said he said. "Alliance continues to broaden its distribution.''

In addition to signing up lots of banks, Alliance has been building relationships with third-party marketers. This year it signed selling agreements with four of them: Uvest Investment Services of Charlotte, N.C., Bisys Group Inc. of Little Falls, N.J., Raymond James Financial of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Fintegra LLC of Minneapolis.

Alliance plans for third-party firms to account for 40% of bank sales within two years, up from 20% now.

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