FINANCING TRADE - GORDON PLATT GERMAN LANDESBANK HOLDS NO. 4 POSITION IN US EX-IM LENDING

FINANCING TRADE - GORDON PLATT GERMAN LANDESBANK HOLDS NO. 4 POSITION IN US EX-IM LENDING

Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, Dusseldorf, Germany, is the fourth- largest participant in the U.S. Export-Import Bank's export financing program, bank officials said.

It seems a bit unusual for a foreign bank to be one of the top users of the Ex-Im Bank program, but apparently U.S. banks are still wary of venturing into foreign climes and have left the field wide open.The huge volume of transactions done by West LB is admittedly in high-value items.

"It's all those Pratt & Whitney engines being imported by Fokker," said Jurgen Sengera, member of the managing board of Germany's largest public sector bank, which serves as a lender of last resort to German savings banks.

West LB, with assets of $245 billion, handles all of the financing for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is the industrial heart of Germany.

Ex-Im Bank lending involves very little risk, Mr. Sengera said. "I am surprised that more U.S. banks don't get into this business."

He said West LB is not interested, however, in making working capital loans to small U.S. businesses. "We are a wholesale operation," he said.

John Paul Garber, joint chief executive North America, said the bank is active in foreign exchange trading. "It's growing all the time," he said.

Dirk Koerner, the other joint chief executive named to the post recently, was a managing director and chief executive of Deutsche Industrie und Handelsbank, Berlin, a West LB subsidiary.

ARGENTINA TO KEEP PESO PEGGED TO DOLLAR

Minister of the Economy Domingo Cavallo said Argentina will not resort to currency devaluation to increase competitiveness.

"The only way to compete is to increase productivity," Mr. Cavallo said. ''There can be no devaluation - impossible."

President Carlos Menem's policy of privatization and opening the economy was supported by the people in last May's election, he said. "I have full support from President Menem to implement his economic policies," Mr. Cavallo told reporters in New York last week at a briefing sponsored by CS First Boston.

David Mulford, vice chairman of the investment banking firm, praised Mr. Cavallo and his team for "a comprehensive and impressive response to the post-Mexico events."

The Argentine minister said there will be no change in the convertibility law. "One private economist forecast that convertibility will last for 200 years," he said. "I don't know about that, but who would think of changing something that is producing good results."

The capital flight caused by the devaluation in Mexico and the electoral uncertainty in Argentina caused a severe credit contraction, breaking the chain of payments and resulting in a sharp increase in the savings rate of the population, as well as a significant increase in the supply of labor, the minister said.

DUTCH BANK TO ACQUIRE US INVESTMENT BANK

ABN AMRO Bank, the largest bank in the Netherlands, agreed to acquire the Chicago Corp., an investment bank with assets of $500 million.

The acquisition will result in the merger of the Chicago Corp. with ABN AMRO Securities (USA) Inc. The merged organization will be based in Chicago and have an expanded presence in New York with a new trading floor opening in 1996.

John A. Wing, chairman and chief executive of the Chicago Corp., will continue as chairman and chief executive of the merged organization.

ABN AMRO owns the LaSalle banking group in Chicago, as well as European American Bank in New York. The bank employs more than 10,000 people in the United States, making it the largest foreign bank in the country. It is one of a small number of banks that under U.S. banking legislation are allowed to engage in both commercial and investment banking activities.