Chase Manhattan Corp. has applied to Polish banking authorities for permission to open a bank in Warsaw, Chase officials disclosed this week. The Polish bank is the second that Chase is attempting to set up in Eastern Europe. Last week, Chase and Citicorp confirmed that they have filed applications to open banks in Moscow.
Chase has had a representative office in Moscow since 1974 but has no banking offices in Warsaw. It also maintains a representative office in Prague.
"The primary focus of the [Warsaw] operation would be to, serve Chase clients from the U.S. and Western Europe," said Charles Mierzejewski, London-based head of Chase's Eastern European operations.
Operations in Poland and Russia would include account. services, money transfers, trade finance, and foreign exchange for large companies investing in those countries.
To Shy Away from Lending
The bank does not to be a major local lender. "I don't think there's an appetite among banks outside Russia for Russian risk," said Richard Lowry, a London-based senior vice president for corporate finance in southern Europe at Chase.
The Chase officials noted that the company has room to develop full-service operations in Russia and Poland because both countries lack sophisticated banking systems. This, contrasts with Western Europe, where Chase has gotten out of retail commercial banking.
The bank is also interested in underwriting securities issues for Polish companies on the United States and international markets, but only after Poland reaches an agreement on its debt to foreign commercial banks.