Two companies that sell investment products through banks reported robust first-quarter earnings this week.

Western National Corp., a leading seller of annuities through banks, raked in $24 million during the first three months, a whopping 153% over the same period last year.

Liberty Financial Cos., a Boston-based firm that sells mutual funds and annuities through banks, said it earned $23.8 million in the first quarter, a 136% gain over the same period last year.

Officials at Western National, which has $9.1 billion in assets, said profits were helped by seven new bank clients for which the company launched proprietary annuities last year. Liberty gained more than 50 new bank clients in 1995 through its acquisition of Wall Street Investors' bank marketing unit.

Liberty also sells annuities to banks through its Keyport Life Insurance Co. subsidiary. It also generates revenue by helping banks run their brokerage programs through Liberty Financial Bank Group.

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