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Chase to Stay in Auto Leasing Business in Connecticut Following State Legislature's Passage of Law Limiting Lessor Liability

    NEW YORK--June 5, 2003--Chase Manhattan Automotive Finance Corporation, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank, which together with its affiliates is the largest non-captive purchaser of auto loans and leases in the United States, today announced it will stay in the auto leasing business in Connecticut due to the State Legislature's passage yesterday of a new bill limiting liability for long term auto leasing companies. Chase had previously announced its plans to exit the auto leasing business in Connecticut and New York on July 1, 2003 if the outdated law, known as "vicarious liability," holding leasing companies responsible for accidents involving their leasing customers, was not changed.
    "We commend the Connecticut Legislature for its swift action to save auto leasing for Connecticut's consumers," said Jeffrey Levine, general counsel for Chase Manhattan Automotive Finance Corporation. "We are now committed to staying in the leasing business in Connecticut assuming that Governor Rowland signs the new bill," Mr. Levine said. Chase will also be reducing its acquisition fees on leased vehicles in Connecticut beginning in July to its standard national rates. Chase had increased these fees in December 2002 in Connecticut and New York, solely due to the risks arising out of these states' vicarious liability laws.
    New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only three states that allow unlimited potential exposure against leasing companies even though lessors have absolutely no control over the vehicle or the driver. Chase already exited the auto leasing business in Rhode Island last October following a court case awarding a $28 million judgment against Chase.
    "We have made a promise that the minute these laws are repealed, Chase will re-introduce its lease programs to dealers and residents in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Chase has honored that commitment in Connecticut by reversing its decision to exit the leasing business there," said Mr. Levine. Yesterday in Rhode Island, the Senate passed a similar new bill limiting lessor liability. Chase also commends the Rhode Island Senate for its swift action to save auto leasing for Rhode Island consumers. That bill will now be voted on by the House. Chase remains fully committed to the leasing business in the other 47 states.
    Chase Manhattan Automotive Finance Corporation (Chase Auto Finance), together with its affiliates, is the largest bank purchaser of automotive retail installment contracts and leases in the U.S. With a network of more than 12,000 affiliated auto dealers and two million customers nationwide, Chase Auto Finance has a portfolio in excess of $40 billion. Headquartered in Garden City, Long Island, Chase Manhattan Automotive Finance Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank. JPMorgan Chase Bank is a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. .
    J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $755 billion and operations in more than 50 countries. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and businesses, financial transaction processing, investment management, private banking and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase is headquartered in New York and serves more than 30 million consumer customers nationwide, and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients. Information about JPMorgan Chase is available on the internet at