First Union Corp. and Spain's Banco Popular Espanol SA have struck an agreement to assist each other's corporate customers.

A spokeswoman for First Union confirmed that an agreement had been reached but declined to disclose any details. The arrangement is one of several First Union has with foreign banks.

First Union has a representative office in Madrid that serves mainly as a marketing center. Last year the banking company got a sophisticated international network -- with offices in 30 countries and 1,200 correspondent banking relationships --when it bought CoreStates Financial Corp. The business focuses largely on trade finance, global funds transfers, and, more recently, global capital market operations involving the sale of fixed-income U.S. bonds to overseas investors.

Banco Popular, a $28 billion-asset institution, has a limited number of offices outside Spain and none in the United States.

-- James R. Kraus

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