In the latest round of cuts preparatory to the merger of Chemical Banking Corp. and Manufacturers Hanover Corp., 40 New York-based officers from the banks' developing markets groups were laid off last Thursday. Most worked at Hanover, which has the larger unit.

The cuts represent about 25% of the developing country groups' professionals in New York, according to a source in one of the units. The groups, which focus on companies in Latin America, Africa, and eastern Europe, offer loans, corporate advisory services, and debt restructuring services. They also include units that trade developing country debt.

A Hanover spokesman confirmed the cuts, but would not elaborate. The banks previously said that Hanover executive Donald McCouch will run the group at the combined banks.

All those let go were professionals. Reductions in clerical and administrative posts will take place at a later date, a source said. He added that cuts in the developing markets area are proportional to those occurring in other parts of the banks.

Separately, eight traders in swaps, options, and other derivatives - six from Chemical and two from Hanover - were let go Thursday, sources said. A Chemical spokeswoman confirmed that some layoffs occurred.

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