NBD Bancorp is trimming the number of outside mutual fund families on its list of "preferred" products -- the ones it recommends to customers -- from four to two.

The shift, set for next month, was decided upon in anticipation of guidelines from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for selection and marketing of mutual funds, said Russ Browne, first vice president in charge of retail investments and the insurance group.

In two sessions, a committee of sales and trust investment employees reviewed sales patterns and product offerings at the Detroit-based bank, Mr. Browne said. The committee decided to strike three families -- Alliance Capital Management, Dreyfus Corp., and Kemper Financial Services -- from the list and add one, Putnam Investments.

Franklin Resources Inc., which will remain on the roster, now offers more funds, having recently acquired Templeton Funds.

More Funds per Family

Mr. Browne sidestepped questions on the selections but said the changes will help the bank meet its own needs and those of his customers better. "The big difference is that we have a significantly larger number of funds in each family."

With more fund offerings, NBD expects that sales of its proprietary mutual funds, the Woodward Funds, might slow somewhat over the short run, Mr. Browne added. The 13 Woodward Funds have $5.3 billion in assets.

The guidelines from the Comptroller's office are expected within two weeks. NBD expects them to aim at keeping proprietary funds from having any unreasonable advantage over outside funds, and to require a fund selection process that ensures quality offerings.

The fund families NBD is dropping from its preferred list will still be available at its offices, through Essex Corp., which the bank uses to market and sell investment products.

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