Safeco Mutual Funds is reaching out to bank customers with a new class structure for a majority of its mutual funds.

The Seattle-based company has created three share classes for 13 of its 18 funds. A no-load class and two other classes will be offered for sale through investment advisers.

"We are most definitely looking to increase our distribution through financial institutions or the bank investment route with the new structure," said Jim Pirac, marketing manager at Safeco.

The no-load class, which investors may buy without an up-front fee, is designed to appeal to those in the Northwest who recognize the Safeco name, Mr. Pirac said.

The other two classes are for financial advisers, insurance agents, or bank representatives.

Adviser class A carries a maximum initial sales charge of 4.5% and a .25% annual service fee.

Adviser class B has no initial sales charges, but includes a 5.0% contingent deferred sales charge that declines to zero after six years. During that time it has a 1.0% annual service and distribution fee.

Safeco's funds have been available to investment advisers since April through the mutual fund "supermantkets" of Charles Schwab & Co., Jack White & Co., and Fidelity Brokerage, Mr. Pirac said.

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