Chase Manhattan Corp. this week told 2,000 employees in one of its main back-office centers that many of their jobs would be moved and some could be lost.

Chase said its operations in two office complexes in Jericho, N.Y., will be shut down in two years. Chase employs about 73,000 workers worldwide, 7,700 of them on Long Island.

About 900 jobs in the Jericho call center are to be moved to a $36 million facility planned for Arlington, Tex.

An unspecified number of other back-office functions would be moved to Chase's four other sites on Long Island, or to Tampa, or Tempe, Ariz.

A Chase spokesman said the moves are being made to take advantage of cheaper labor outside the New York area.

"Like all companies operating in a competitive environment, we continue to review where to best locate operations to be more efficient," said Ken Herz, the spokesman.

Mr. Herz would not elaborate on the number of potential job cuts but said the banking company "ultimately expects layoffs."

Many other large banking companies have moved to centralize technology functions outside their headquarters markets, in areas where labor and real estate are less expensive.

Citigroup Inc., for example, is consolidating many U.S.-based customer service and back-office operations in Tampa.

J.P. Morgan & Co. has said it plans to open a technology center this year in Glasgow, Scotland, to serve its European operations, which are based in London.

Chase is constantly reviewing its mix of business and its distribution channels, Mr. Herz said.

Indeed, just last week, Chase announced it would sell 29 branches in less profitable markets in central and northern New York to Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. The sale, expected to be completed by Sept. 30, includes $600 million of retail and business banking deposits and $40 million of loans and trust assets.

Chase is also reportedly looking to sell its branch operations in Panama.

Analysts said Chase has been focusing on paring expenses to help boost performance and free up money for investment in growth businesses such as capital markets and global processing.

In the first quarter Chase took a $510 million restructuring charge and eliminated 4,500 jobs as it consolidated marketing, legal, and other administrative functions into a new unit, Chase Business Services.

Analysts said Chase's recent actions extend that effort. "They are doing nips and tucks," said Carla D'Arista, an analyst at Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co. "It is a constant exercise in improving efficiencies."

The call center and other operations in Jericho are primarily under Chase's retail bank, but some employees there work for Chase Business Services and Chase Technology Solutions, its securities processing and information technology group.

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