Trans Financial Inc., a Bowling Green, Ky.-based bank, sold its $158.6 million mutual fund family last month to the mortgage bank Countrywide Financial Services Inc.
"We decided not to have our own proprietary fund family, because we're not a big enough bank for it to be financially rewarding," said Michael Moser, executive vice president of marketing at Trans Financial.
The Trans Adviser Fund family-two equity, one fixed-income, one municipal bond, and one money market fund-was one of many businesses president and chief executive Vince Berta decided to shed when he took over the bank in 1996. At the time Mr. Berta said he would focus on the company's core banking business.
Countrywide started its fund family last year when it bought Leshner Financial Inc., Cincinnati, which managed $1.1 billion of assets. It began selling the funds on a limited basis to its mortgage customers in July. Assets under management totaled $1.3 billion before the purchase from Trans Financial.
When Great Western Financial Corp. put its proprietary Sierra Funds on the auction block last year, some industry observers expected a spate of banks and thrifts to follow.
But few banks have put their fund families up for sale, and Great Western's auction was preempted by Washington Mutual Inc.'s purchase of the company this year.
Countrywide is big enough to spend what it takes to make the fund business profitable, Mr. Moser said. Trans Financial will continue to sell the funds, as well as third-party funds, he said.