Republic New York Corp. has launched a $5 billion global bank note program.

The notes will be issued at varying maturities and in different currencies, giving the bank unusual flexibility in asset-liability management.

The notes will have minimum maturities of 30 days, and will be issued on a syndicated and non-syndicated basis on an "as-needed" basis in the United States and around the world.

Merrill Lynch & Co. arranged the issue. Dealers include Bear Steams International Limited, CS First Boston, Lehman Brothers Inc. and Salomon Brothers Inc., among others.

Republic said the notes have been accepted for listing on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and will be cleared through Euroclear, Cedel, DTC and other recognized organizations.

The bank added they can be denominated in a range of different currencies, including Australian dollars, Austrian Schillings, finnish markkas, Irish punts, Portuguese escudos and Swedish kronor.

The program has been rated F1+ and AA+ by Fitch Investors Service Inc., A1+ and AA+ by IBCA Ltds, Prime-1 and Aa1 by Moody's Investors Service Inc. and A1 and AA by Standard & Poor's Ratings Group.

Fred W. DeBussey, an analyst with Fitch in New York, noted that although U.S. banks have been issuing bank notes in increasing volumes for the last 3 to 4 years, most have been sold in the United States and only small portions have been placed internationally.

He added that the international focus of the note program gives Republic a large degree of flexibility by permitting the bank to choose when and where it raises funds and in which currency.

"Flexibility is the key thing," Mr. DeBussey said.

"It gives them another arrow in their quiver, and is attractive because it permits them to source monies at a price that's advantageous and in amounts that make sense as to their asset-liability management."

The analysts also suggested that Republic's international reputation should help it place its paper around the world.

Republic National Bank of New York, Republic New York's main banking unit, has been steadily expanding its international operations.

The bank operates outside the United States through a network of branches, representative offices, subsidiaries and affiliates in Canada and South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia.

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