Republic New York Corp. has hired veteran banker Louise Gunderson to help build its domestic private banking business.

Ms. Gunderson, who will join on Sep. 1 as a senior vice president, most recently ran private banking in the United States for Banca della Svizzera Italiana. Before that, she held a similar post at Chemical Bank.

Republic confirmed Ms. Gunderson's appointment, but would not provide details. Domestic private banking is "a small but growing part of our business," said J. Phillip Burgess, a bank spokesman.

Republic, which owns a 48.9% share in Luxembourg-based Safra Republic Bank and is itself a major holding of Edmond Safra, is an established name in international private banking.

But analysts believe it will more heavily promote its sterling reputation for credit quality to gain assets from wealthy people in its home market.

In a written response to questions, Republic said that Ms. Gunderson has "a client following that we believe will very much appreciate Republic's safety and service."

Ms. Gunderson would not comment except to say that she is "thrilled" about her new job.

She left Chemical with several members of her staff in 1988 to launch the Swiss bank into private banking in the United States. At BSI, she was known as an aggressive lender who built a domestic client base around entrepreneurs.

Ms. Gunderson left her BSI post earlier this summer when Swiss Bank Corp., which bought control of the smaller bank, began to shut most of its U.S. operations.

Toward the end of her stint, Ms. Gunderson had started shifting the unit's focus from lending to money management, which is Republic's forte.

A Third of Total Deposits

Republic does not break out numbers on its private banking operations. Its 1990 annual report said the bank managed about $5.75 billion in private accounts for international clients, "representing about 30% of its total deposits."

Ms. Gunderson's position at Republic is a new one, the bank said. The head of international private banking is Rick D. Friedlander, an executive vice president who has worked at Republic since 1967.

Ms. Gunderson also may work with Peter Cohen, the former president of Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc., who has been hired by Republic as a consultant for its securities brokerage and advisory unit.

Analysts said it makes sense to link private banking with the securities effort. Republic, wants to "be able to provide their private client base more product," said Richard Goleniewski, an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Michael M. Cassell, the former second-in-command for Chemical Bank's private bank, is looking for a new position.

Mr. Cassell, who had run private banking at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. before its merger with Chemical, was demoted to chief operating officer of private banking after the combination. He reported to John Fogarty, head of the unit.

"It didn't provide enough scope for the things I wanted to do," said Mr. Cassell, who resigned a few months ago. "I didn't want to stay, and he [Mr. Fogarty] didn't want me there," Mr. Cassell said.

He called the departure amicable.

The bank said it will not replace Mr. Cassell, who has spent his entire career at Hanover and its successors. He began in its management training program in 1965.

The executive said he wants to stay in banking, though not necessarily in private banking. Before assuming the top post at Hanover in 1990, Mr. Cassell was president of its Delaware bank, which specialized in cash management services.

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