HSBC to Buy Chase Branches in Panama

NEW YORK - HSBC Bank USA said Tuesday that it agreed to buy the Panama branch operations of Chase Manhattan Corp.The price was not disclosed.

The deal includes 11 offices and $752 million of assets. HSBC, the New York-based banking unit of London's HSBC Holdings PLC, has had a presence in Panama since 1972, with corporate and retail operations, five branch offices, and $477 million of assets there.

HSBC said it intends to hire all the Chase employees.

Chase said it would continue to offer corporate banking and private client services in the region. The company has been selling off branches in areas outside its core markets of Texas and metropolitan New York.

HSBC said it would apply to regulators for approval of a plan to transfer ownership of the combined Panama operations to its New York affiliate.

The acquisition is scheduled for completion in the third quarter.

- Liz Moyer

J.P. Morgan Reshuffles After Web Defections

SAN FRANCISCO - J.P. Morgan & Co. announced three senior executive changes Tuesday in response to the departure last week of top investment bankers to an Internet financial firm.Tim Main, managing director and co-head of global equity capital markets, started Tuesday as head of Morgan's West Coast investment banking unit, a newly created position. He is also head of the bank's 13-state western region and will be chairman of its regional management committee. Both positions had been filled by David B. Weir, who was co-head of North American technology and telecommunications investment banking.

Joining Mr. Main as co-head of global equity capital markets is Carlos Hernandez, a Morgan managing director. For the past three years he ran Latin American investment banking and was co-head of Latin America for the bank. Mr. Main, formerly based in New York, will work from San Francisco, and Mr. Hernandez will be based in New York.

Mr. Weir and the other former technology co-head, John A. Forlines 3d, left Morgan for positions at Offroad Capital, an online private equity firm in San Francisco.

Just before leaving Morgan, Mr. Forlines stepped aside as co-chief of the technology and telecommunications group to focus on special projects for Morgan's newly minted Internet development group, LabMorgan. He was succeeded by Dag Skattum as co-chief. Mr. Skattum will now assume sole responsibility for the tech and telecom investment banking group.

Taking over Mr. Hernandez's Latin American post is Eduardo CepEda, a managing director and general manager of Morgan's Latin American office.

Based in Mexico City, Mr. CepEda will also be co-head of the Latin American region with Miguel Guterrez.

- Laura Mandaro

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