Despite Chase Manhattan Corp.'s announcement Friday it will lay off 5,000 people worldwide to cut costs, state officials say Utah is still a contender for the bank's new credit card operations center, which could employ up to 1,000 people.

Chase officials said the layoffs would save about $300 million in annual operating costs."Despite some of the challenges Chase has faced, they have continued to show a great deal of interest in the Utah sites. The main reason for this is the long-term profitability of the corporation," said Kirk Green, director of the state Division of Economic and Business Development.

Green said Friday state officials have had continual contact with Chase officials about locating in Utah, but he was unaware of the corporation's plans to lay off employees. The reduction in force represents about 12 percent of its work force.

Yet, Green is optimistic Chase will set up shop in the Beehive State.

"There are lots of different divisions within the Chase structure. This may or may not be one of the divisions affected by the employment shift," he said.

One reason he believes Utah ought not count itself out is it would be less expensive for Chase to do business in Utah than in other major cities, and saving money is one of the factors that prompted the layoffs.

"We have known for quite some time that Chase has been looking for better ways to serve their current customers. There's no question that a large operation based in Utah is much more cost effective than locating people in downtown Manhattan," Green said.

"An operation center located outside of New York City just makes sense, particularly under the given circumstances."