JMC Group, the San Diego third-party marketing firm for banks, is pulling out of retail sales in banks, its main business.

The company has been losing money and hopes to revive itself in another form, perhaps through a merger with a private company that is interested in acquiring JMC's publicly traded status, company chairman James Mitchell said.

JMC representatives sold annuities, insurance, and mutual funds at banks. The company has lost business in recent years as banks have brought sales operations in-house. The biggest was Barnett Banks, which let JMC go in 1995. The company has lost other clients through bank mergers.

"The marketplace for companies such as ours has been shrinking," Mr. Mitchell said.

JMC, founded in 1984, lost about $500,000 in 1996 and through the first three quarters of 1997 had lost about $700,000.

But it has no debt and has about $4 million of cash and cash equivalents with which it might buy another company. That business would likely be in the financial services arena, Mr. Mitchell said, but not necessarily.

Before the company announced its decision, just before Christmas, it had about 40 employees. It now has 16, and a few more are likely to be laid off, Mr. Mitchell said.

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