Two small banks have begun offering investment products through third- party marketing firms.

Charlotte State Bank, a $50 million-asset bank in Port Charlotte, Fla., hired Invest Financial Corp., Tampa, as its broker-dealer in July.

High Street Banking Co., a $40 million-asset bank in Asheville, N.C., has been using AAG Securities Inc., Cincinnati, since June.

Banks too small to own brokerages often use third-party marketing firms to offer products such as mutual funds and annuities to their customers.

"The markets that we are in have a need for those type of services in a banking environment," said J. Edgar McFarland, president and chief executive of High Street.

Executives at other banks - including Bryn Mawr (Pa.) Trust Co., which has $350 million of assets-said they plan to hire a marketing firm within a few months.

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