MINNEAPOLIS - First Bank System Inc. has begun selling a fixed-rate annuity managed by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance, Denver.

Representatives of the Minneapolis-based banking company are offering the Maximum Value Plan - which features a guaranteed interest rate and levies no sales charge against invested funds - through First Bank branches in 11 midwestern and western states.

Sales of the annuity through First Bank System have passed $50 million since May, when the partnership began.

The annuity features a guaranteed rate of 7% for the first two years, which includes a sign-up bonus of 0.67%.

With assets of $15.6 billion, Great-West Life & Annuity Co. is part of the $34 billion Great-West Family of Companies, one of the largest providers of insurance and retirement benefits in North America.

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