Chase's Unit in Argentina Leaving the Retail Business

BUENOS AIRES - Chase Manhattan Corp.'s Argentine subsidiary said it was closing its local retail banking business as part of a restructuring aimed at concentrating business in capital markets, company financial advisory services, and corporate financing.

A bank statement said it had reached preliminary agreement for a local bank, Banco Frances, to acquire its Visa credit card portfolio and most of its retail banking operations.

Focus on Buenos Aires

Chase has a total of nine branches in Buenos Aires and in three provincial capitals.

All the bank's operations will be concentrated at its headquarters in central Buenos Aires.

General manager William Gambrel said presonnel affected by the change would be offered a severance program.

He did not say how many employees would be affected, but banking sources put the number at around 130.

Slimmed-Down Strategy

"Chase will concentrate further on its successful business of subscription and placing of new debt issues and shares of Argentine private-sector clients in the Euromarket," Mr. Gambrel said in the statement.

He said the change is in line with Chase's worldwide restructuring that is aimed at saving $300 million globally in costs.

The Argentine restructuring is subject to approval by the Central Bank and other regulatory bodies.

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