North Fork Sets Up a Lease Financing Unit

MELVILLE, N.Y. - North Fork Bancorp. has formed an equipment and vehicle lease finance subsidiary and has hired a team of executives from Sovereign Bancorp and GE Capital Services to run it.The subsidiary, All Points Capital Corp., was formed last month and has underwritten $20 million to $30 million of loans, about 10% of the volume it is expected to generate in its first year, said John Adam Kanas, North Fork's chairman and chief executive officer. In time the unit is expected to make up one third of North Fork's industrial and commercial loan portfolio, Mr. Kanas said.

The unit is expected to round out North Fork's product offerings for small-business and middle-market customers. "Not only will the business provide us with significant asset growth, but it will fill a gap for a product that was sorely needed," Mr. Kanas said.

Walter D. Rabin, who ran the equipment financing business at GE Capital Services, is president and chief executive officer of the unit.

Two other colleagues from General Electric joined him as managing director: Anthony Fantauzzi and Anthony Perettine. Charlie Kay and Richard Antonacci, formerly in charge of the vehicle leasing financing business at Wyomissing, Pa.-based Sovereign, have also joined as managing directors.

Chase Helping Italian Region Borrow $2.6B

LONDON - Chase Manhattan Corp. has jointly arranged a $2.6 billion debt issuance program for the Italian region of Umbria together with DePfa-Bank Europe PLC and Dexia Capital Markets-Crediop SpA.The funds are being raised in order to accelerate reconstruction work on destruction caused by a devastating earthquake two years ago. Estimates have put the cost of rebuilding in the region at nearly $8 billion.

The debt program is the largest of its kind ever undertaken by an Italian regional borrower and is also the first capital markets program ever launched to assist in reconstruction from a natural disaster.

According to a statement from Chase, the debt issues will be brought will be spread out over the next two years, with the first drawing on the program before year end.

Credit Lyonnais Takeover of Insurer Probed

LOS ANGELES - Federal regulators are investigating Credit Lyonnais to find out whether the Paris-based bank fraudulently took control of a California insurance company through a Geneva-based subsidiary.A report in the Los Angeles Times, citing unidentified sources, said both the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York and the New York Federal Reserve Bank are seeking information on whether investors who took control of Los Angeles-based Executive Life Insurance Co. secretly agreed to turn over control of the bankrupt insurance company to Altus Finance, a unit of Credit Lyonnais.

Credit Lyonnais officials could not be reached for comment on the report. Until the Gramm-Leach-Blilely Act of 1999 took effect in November, U.S. and foreign banks were barred from owning insurance companies.

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