MEXICO CITY -- The president of Chase Manhattan Corp. said the company plans to open a commercial bank in Mexico once the North American Free Trade Agreement has been implemented.

"We have not finalized all of our plans, but we expect to keep our current activities and to open, with approval, a new commercial bank," Arthur Ryan said in a press briefing.

Chase now has a representative office that focuses on corporate finance. Foreign banks, with the exception of Citibank, are not allowed to operate as commercial banks under existing Mexican banking laws.

Mr. Ryan said Chase does not plan to enter the retail sector but would use the bank to enhance its corporate finance activities.

"With a representative office we have certain limitations [on activities] in money and foreign exchange markets...that is why we would want a commercial bank," he said.

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