Chase Manhattan Corp. will scrap a 14-year tradition this October when it forgoes holding a lavish reception for the press at the American Bankers Association's annual convention.

The Chase shindig was positioned to put the company's chief executive officer in the spotlight. He would always make a presentation, then take questions and answers from reporters.

But Chase officials no longer view the ABA confab as the premier industry event, sources said.

Instead, Chase is competing with several other global banks for press attention at the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting in Washington this week.

Thomas G. Labrecque, the company's chairman and chief executive, was scheduled to meet with reporters Tuesday evening at a reception in the Barclay Hotel.

Chase executives believe the IMF carries more prestige than the ABA, sources said, and its meeting attracts a bigger contingent of international reporters.

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