GNA Corp. has tapped the director of one of its bank brokerage programs to help it sell its annuities and mutual funds through two new distribution channels.

The Seattle-based company promoted John Howard to director of marketing for its brokerage sales group, which handles sales through life insurance and securities brokers. He started the job Dec. 1.

Previously, Mr. Howard ran GNA's managed brokerage program at Crossland Federal Savings Bank in New York.

Mr. Howard's new position underscores GNA's search for revenue opportunities beyond its core business of selling investments through banks. A little over a year ago, GNA started promoting its products through financial planners and securities brokerages.

The firm declined to disclose the proportion of sales that come from its various distribution channels, but said banks are its biggest sales outlet.

Mr. Howard said his new position grew out of the recognition that traditional securities brokers and life insurance brokers - which provide insurance products to independent agents and financial planners - have different marketing needs than bank brokers.

While bank brokers are more concerned with developing sales techniques, nonbank brokers want continuing education programs to maintain their licenses, he said.

Mr. Howard's job was created after his position at Crossland was eliminated. In September, Republic Bank of New York announced a deal to buy the thrift.

Mr. Howard joined GNA in 1993 as a regional account executive, providing sales support and training to 10 Midwest banks. In 1994, he became a product manager. He took over the program at Crossland shortly after that.

GNA, a unit of General Electric Co., is one of the leading providers of investment products to banks. The firm has 184 banking company clients and holds $20 billion in assets.

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