Batting away repeated questions about Chase Manhattan Corp.'s acquisition strategy, chairman and chief executive Walter V. Shipley told a group of analysts this week that Chase had no plans to build its branch network.
"Branch-based market extensions are not on our radar screen," he said.
At a meeting Tuesday of the Bank and Financial Analysts Association annual conference, Mr. Shipley said Chase was not plotting a merger with Fleet Financial Group of Boston. The rumor has been a favorite of stock market analysts.
"Fleet is selling its corporate trust services business, and we have been looking very aggressively at it," said Mr. Shipley. "That might be where the speculation is coming from."
The chairman added that Chase, which has $320 billion in assets and is the nation's largest bank, would look to acquisitions to help round out certain business lines, like credit cards, corporate banking, securities, and asset management. "We will continue to be opportunistic," he said.
An acquisition could be down the road if Chase's retail banking revenues are eclipsed by its corporate banking revenues. "We like a balance between the two," Mr. Shipley said. "We would not want a 25% to 75% split. If that happens, it would influence our potential for an acquisition."