Bank of New York Corp. on Tuesday agreed to buy the corporate trust business of Chicago-based Harris Bank and, separately, agreed to negotiate a similar deal with Bank of Montreal, the parent company of Harris Bank.

The two acquisitions would bring Bank of New York another 1,700 corporate trust accounts in structured finance, corporate, municipal, and international markets. The $74 billion-asset company ranks among the top three in the corporate trust business, with a portfolio of 70,000 trustee and agency accounts.

Terms were not disclosed. The deals are scheduled to close in the first and second quarters, respectively. Like many other companies, Harris Bank is getting out of the corporate trust business, because it lacks the scale to stay profitable. Bank of New York said it would run the accounts through its corporate trust offices in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

Also Tuesday, Bank of New York announced a deal to acquire the correspondent clearing operations of SG Cowen Securities Corp., a unit of Societe Generale. Terms of that deal were also undisclosed.

The business would be folded into BNY Clearing Services, a unit formed in 1998 after Bank of New York gained a majority interest in Chicago-based Everen Capital Corp. The deal is the second instance this week of Societe Generale's scaling back operations in the United States. The French bank is concentrating its energies on its historic strengths, such as foreign exchange, in a bid to boost returns. On Monday it said it was exiting the U.S. mortgage-backed securities and high-grade bond businesses.

- Liz Moyer and Laura Mandaro

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