Chase Processing Unit in Pact with Natwest

NEW YORK - Chase Merchant Services and National Westminster Bank of London will form a strategic marketing alliance to bolster each other's international business.New York-based Chase Merchant Services - the largest merchant processor in the United States - will tap into Natwest's multi-currency capability to expand its presence to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Merchant customers will be able to accept card transactions in 145 currencies and receive reimbursement in up to 22 settlement currencies.

The alliance will provide a "seamless" processing environment to merchants within and outside the United States, said Diane Vogt, chief executive officer of Chase Merchant Services, a joint venture of First Data Merchant Services and Chase Manhattan Corp.

Chase Manhattan could not acquire internationally without applying for membership from the card associations.

Chase Merchant Services said it chose to partner with Natwest because of its brand recognition and experience in Europe. The two processors, which have signed a letter of intent, will promote the alliance to both potential and existing customers.

-Helen Stock

SunTrust Names Top Banking, Retail Execs

ATLANTA - SunTrust Banks Inc. filled two newly created positions on Tuesday, appointing Carl Mentzer head of commercial banking and Dennis Patterson head of its retail banking business lines.Mr. Mentzer, 54, was chief executive of SunTrust's Tampa operations. Mr. Patterson, 50, was marketing director for the parent company.

Additionally, the $92 billion-asset company made James M. Wells 3d, 53, chief executive of Crestar Bank, SunTrust's banking unit for Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Mr. Wells, who was president of the unit, succeeds Richard G. Tilghman as chief executive.

Mr. Tilghman, 58, will remain chairman of Crestar and vice chairman of SunTrust.

- Louis Whiteman

Cal Fed Parent Wins Cut in Suit Settlement

SAN FRANCISCO - Golden State Bancorp, the parent of California Federal Bank, received approval Monday for a reduced settlement with shareholders who sued over its merger with First Nationwide Holdings Inc.The suit, filed in February 1998 in the Delaware Court of Chancery in Wilmington, alleged that the former First Nationwide would gain an unfairly large stake when it bought control of Golden State in the deal announced that month. The deal closed in September 1998.

The shareholders last year agreed to settle the suits after Golden State officials revealed additional financial details and an expert's fairness report on the deal.

The plaintiffs also requested $1.3 million to cover court costs. However, this week Chancery Court Chief Judge William B. Chandler 3d pared the monetary part of the settlement to $500,000.

-Olaf de Senerpont Domis

Web Trade Platform Gets $20M of Financing

DULLES, Va. - Ultraprise Corp. said Tuesday that it has secured another $20 million of financing, led by investments from Citigroup Inc., First Union Corp., and GE Capital.Each company will take a seat on the board of Ultraprise, a company that enables bankers and securities traders to buy and sell pools of funded loans on the Internet.

Other investors in this round included Friedman, Billings, Ramsey's FBR Technology Venture Partners and FBR Financial Fund, and the Walker Investment Fund, all of which had previous investments in the company.

Chase Shelf Filing for $15B Offering

WASHINGTON - Chase Manhattan Corp., the second-largest U.S. banking company, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell $15 billion in debt securities, preferred and common stock, depositary shares and debt, stock and currency warrants.The shelf filing with the SEC includes about $3.6 billion of securities carried over from an earlier registration, which would let the New York banking company raise a total of $18.6 billion. A shelf registration lets companies register securities in advance and sell them when financing needs arise or when market conditions warrant. Terms of the securities are usually announced at the time of the sale.

Chase said it would use the net proceeds from the sale for general corporate purposes, which could include repayment of debts, investments or extensions of credit to subsidiaries, redemption of preferred stock, or possible acquisitions.

- Bloomberg News

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