Sumitomo Bank of California has struck a five-year deal with two companies to supply and market mutual funds to bank customers as part of a program called Bounty Reserve.

Brokers from James Mitchell & Co. will sell seven mutual funds and four annuities provided by SEI Corp. The program began operation last month.

Bounty Reserve was chosen as the moniker to suggest the image of cultivation, said Steven Borg, who managed the program roll-out for Sumitomo.

"The idea is to reap what you sow, and people do the same thing with their investing," he said. And, just as the vintner knows the best time to pick grapes, so too do good money managers know when to sell investments, he explained.

To drive the concept home, a bunch of ripe, Concord grapes, framed by fall foliage, is pictured on Bounty Reserve brochures.

High Hopes on Fees

Sumitomo, a $5.2 billion-asset bank based in San Francisco, believes the quality of the SEI products and skills of the 19 James Mitchell brokers working in 48 branches will make Bounty Reserve a strong fee-income producer this year, Mr. Borg said.

With customers looking for alternatives to certificates of deposits, these products will give the bank the opportunity to maintain relationships, bank officials said.

The James Mitchell sales representatives, called Bounty Reserve specialists, will sell products from a section of the bank clearly separated from the deposit activities. That will help reinforce the message that alternative products are not insured, the bank said.

SEI, a fund company based in Wayne, Pa., will provide seven equity, bond, and money market Provantage Funds and four Tax-vantage annuities. SEI has $39 billion in assets under management.

James Mitchell, a wholly owned subsidiary of San Diego-based JMC Group, provides investment products and services to banks.

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