Chase Manhattan Bank, the nation's third-largest, announced today that next Thursday it will open four so-called international banking facilities, which are akin to having foreign branches in the United States.
The facilities are designed to attract back to the United States billions of dollars of deposit and loan business that banks conduct abroad because of federal laws.
Most other major banks in New York, Chicago and the West Coast, as well as the many U.S. branches of foreign banks, are expected to open similar facilities next week or soon thereafter. The facilities are permitted to take time, or nonchecking, deposits from and make loans to foreign governments, individuals and corporations, including foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies.
Federal officials said that they have received notifications that about 150 international banking facilities will be opened in the United States soon. The federal government approved the new facilities earlier this year, and Dec. 3 is the first day a U.S. bank or U.S. branch of a foreign bank can open one.
Chase said its four facilities will open in New York, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.
An international banking facility will be able to accept time deposits that are free of regulations such as reserve requirements that force a bank to set aside in a non-interest-bearing account at the Federal Reserve a portion of every deposit it receives. The facilities will not be subject to ceilings on the amount of interest they pay or charge.
However, the international banking facilities will not be able to do business with U.S. citizens or corporations. The facilities are designed to permit U.S. banks to carry on within the United States business the banks had to do in Europe, the Bahamas, the Grand Cayman Islands or other foreign banking centers. Foreign lending of dollars controlled by foreigners--much of which is conducted by foreign branches of U.S. banks, including Chase--is called the Eurodollar market.
Something approaching $1 trillion is in the so-called Eurodollar market. These dollars are not under the control of U.S. banking regulators.
Although major banking centers such as London, which is the headquarters of the Eurodollar market, will not feel much effect from international banking facilities, at least at first, minor centers such as the Bahamas or the Grand Cayman Islands probably will suffer outflows of deposits. These outposts have branches of U.S. banks mainly because their banking laws are more liberal than U.S. laws. But the branches exist more on paper than in fact.
Most of the deposit taking and loan decisions are made in New York, even if the deposits are credited to a branch in the Grand Caymans or the loan is booked in the Bahamas branch.
Many states are expected to pass laws permitting banks to set up international banking facilities, but New York is expected to benefit the most.
D.C. Mayor Marion Barry has proposed legislation authorizing such facilities, and D.C. National Bank plans to open one next month even though no date is fixed for implementation of legislation granting it tax-exempt status.
Chase said today that its facilities will accept time deposits of $100,000 or more or deposits in dollar equivalents of British pounds, West German marks, Swiss francs, Japanese yen, French francs, Canadian dollars and Dutch guilders.