Indiana Federal Bank for Savings has turned to First Institutional Marketing Inc. to invigorate its investment product sales.

The $800 million-asset thrift, based in Valparaiso, hopes First Institutional will help it increase investment product sales by $3 million this year, said Tim Scannell, senior vice president of IFB Investment Services Inc., the thrift's investment arm.

The thrift sold $29 million worth of investment products last year.

IFB chose First Institutional in December over other third-party marketers because it offers attractive products without requiring the thrift to drop those it had been selling, Mr. Scannell said. First Institutional will train IFB's sales staff and provide additional products for the thrift to sell, he said.

IFB is particularly interested in the marketer's annuities and 401(k) products, Mr. Scannell added.

Though Indiana Federal has offered investment products since 1982, Mr. Scannell said he wanted additional help training platform employees to refer business to sales representatives.

First Institutional is supplying two trainers to work with IFB's four dedicated and 15 platform representatives. Later, one trainer will be available for monthly visits, said Jay Carter, who oversees the account for First Institutional.

The marketing company has already initiated a "Say No to Taxes" campaign in IFB's 15 branches, in anticipation of the tax season. It also plans to introduce its own turnkey 401(k) product to the thrift's customers in the second quarter, Mr. Carter said.

"They wanted to expand the results they were getting," he said. "This is going to be very big."

First Institutional, based in Houston, has 150 clients, including banks like Comerica and Compass Bank.

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