The Independent Bankers Association of America's two-year effort to recruit more community banks for its investment products sales program is beginning to bear fruit.

Since February, the number of community banks selling investments through the trade group's broker-dealer subsidiary has more than doubled, to 25. And another 28 banks have agreed to come aboard between now and November.

The broker-dealer, IBAA Financial Service Corp., has been slow to win converts since its launch in 1993. But officials at the IBAA and its mutual fund partner, Massachusetts Financial Services, say they are committed to the project.

"We haven't retrenched in our effort to offer these services at all," said Gary C. Teagno, president of the IBAA Community Banking Network, an arm of the trade group that operates fee-income programs like the broker- dealer. "We continue to have good reception from banks, but it takes time."

He said IBAA Financial Service Corp. is adding services and products - such as 401(k) plans and a variable annuity - to attract participants from the trade group's 5,663 members.

Until recently, banks in the sales program could offer customers only individual securities and a slate of Massachusetts Financial mutual funds.

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