The number of bank third-party marketing firms continues to dwindle, according to American Brokerage Consultants, St. Petersburg, Fla.

The company's just-released 1998 Bankers Guide to Third-Party Marketing Companies includes 50 firms, down from 65 three years ago, said Richard Ayotte, chief executive of the consulting business, which specializes in bank brokerages.

Although the guide also included 50 firms last year, American Brokerage Consultants used to solicit 200 firms for inclusion in the guide, and only 100 are around to solicit now, Mr. Ayotte said.

The decrease is due in part to companies leaving the bank business or getting bought by other companies, he said.

Along with the 1998 edition of its third-party marketing company index, the consulting company also released its 1998 Bankers Guide to Mutual Fund Companies, which includes 21 fund companies.

The guides are compilations of the products offered to financial institutions by mutual fund companies and third-party marketers.

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