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Public Meeting Transcripts

Public Meeting Regarding Fleet Financial Group, Inc., and BankBoston Corporation

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

Transcript of Panel Ten

       16            MS. WEBSTER:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         17   Elizabeth Webster.  I'm here from Ithaca, New York, 
         18   which is the true upstate region of New York State. 
         19            I'm here without statistics or media or 
         20   T-shirts or a group behind me.  I have a story of a 
         21   phone call from a community development corporation 
         22   -- to a community development corporation from an 
         23   economic opportunity corporation. 
         24            We asked the absurd.  We asked Fleet Bank 
         25   to think as a philanthropist.  In fact, they were 
          1   able to do that at every turn.  We need to become 
          2   self-sufficient in our community so we can continue 
          3   to serve the 5,000 clients or consumers who we are 
          4   guiding on their road to self-sufficiency. 
          5            Fleet Bank came to the table.  Then they 
          6   got on a plane, they came to Tompkins County, they 
          7   listened to the real people that are the statistics 
          8   that have been quoted today, the people who need 
          9   help with their heat bill, the people who need to 
         10   use a food pantry, people who are learning the 
         11   skills to save money for their own home. 
         12            They met what we like to consider reality, 
         13   and then they went back to their bottom line, and 
         14   they tried it again and again and again.  And the 
         15   bottom line finally was able to satisfy us and them.  
         16   And now because of that, we have $1.5 million that 
         17   will enable an institution to become completely 
         18   self-sufficient. 
         19            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         20   much. 
         21            MS. FLYNN:  My name is Denise Flynn.  I'm 
         22   the vice-president of Junior Achievement for 
         23   Northern New England. 
         24            For several decades, BankBoston and Fleet 
         25   have worked together to support our organizations 
          1   which teaches kids in grades K through 12 about 
          2   business and how business works. 
          3            Although BankBoston has been one of our 
          4   largest supporters, we have also received support 
          5   from Fleet.  Together, the banks have helped JA to 
          6   grow from serving 5,000 students ten years ago to 
          7   over 50,000 students this month. 
          8            We're an organization that serves all kinds 
          9   of students.  In the past few years, we've tried to 
         10   focus our efforts on programs and schools where 
         11   students have least access to business people.  In 
         12   Boston alone, we serve more than 6,000 students who 
         13   were able to meet a business person this year. 
         14            In addition, volunteers from Fleet and 
         15   BankBoston have enabled Junior Achievement to extend 
         16   its reach to areas like Lynn, Lawrence, Lowell, 
         17   Quincy, Worcester and Springfield.  In short, the 
         18   banks have actively supported volunteers in schools 
         19   throughout New England. 
         20            We at Junior Achievement hope that the 
         21   merger will solidify our presence in New England, 
         22   and we hope that the combined banks will help us to 
         23   build a critical mass of volunteers at the new 
         24   larger bank that will enable us to reach 20 percent 
         25   of the student population by the year 2005. 
          1            This may or may not have been possible 
          2   without the merger, but clearly would have been 
          3   impossible if a non-New England bank had assumed 
          4   control of either bank. 
          5            Thank you.
          6            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.
          7            MS. WHITLOCK:  Hello.  My name is Linda 
          8   Whitlock, and I'm speaking as president and CEO of 
          9   Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.  And I speak on 
         10   unabashedly in support of the merger. 
         11            I'm speaking on behalf of nearly 7,000 
         12   citizens, some of the poorest neighborhoods in 
         13   Boston and Chelsea, citizens whose voices are absent 
         14   today because they are children and teens who are 
         15   doing what children and teens should be doing on a 
         16   hot day in July.  They're at our clubs learning to 
         17   swim, to surf the Net safely, to cooperate with 
         18   peers, to confide in a trusted adult, all because of 
         19   the notable generosity of donors like BankBoston and 
         20   Fleet Bank.  Stellar corporate citizens, these two 
         21   banks, and BankBoston in particular, are peerless in 
         22   their charitable giving to inner-city programs like 
         23   ours. 
         24            Since 1978 BankBoston has given our 
         25   organization in excess of $800,000 for program and 
          1   building needs.  Similarly, Fleet has provided us 
          2   with nearly $300,000.  Maintaining the corporate 
          3   headquarters in Boston will ensure that there is no 
          4   diminution of civic and philanthropic involvement on 
          5   the part of the new merged entity. 
          6            I'm honored to endorse the merger on behalf 
          7   of our courageous, worthy and very grateful boys and 
          8   girls. 
          9            Thank you for letting me speak today. 
         10            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
         11            DR. SMITH:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         12   Jane Smith, and I am a member of the Fleet INCITY 
         13   Advisory Board.  I'm also president and CEO of the 
         14   National Council of Negro Women, with a membership 
         15   of over 450,000 women of African descent.  
         16   Previously, I directed the Atlanta Project at the 
         17   Carter Presidential Center, which was about 
         18   neighborhoods and corporations being partners to 
         19   improve our citizens' lives. 
         20            I endorse the merger.  I endorse the merger 
         21   because my job has a simple job description, which 
         22   is to be the watchdog for African-American women in 
         23   terms of commerce and banking.  I have thoroughly 
         24   enjoyed as a member of the INCITY Board seeing the 
         25   balance and response to change that Fleet offers as 
          1   they look in the inner city to see what women need 
          2   to have wholesome families with or without a partner 
          3   in the same household. 
          4            I have appreciated the support systems that 
          5   have been given to women in terms of training that 
          6   the banks have offered, guidance by the appropriate 
          7   kinds of staff being hired, even those who speak 
          8   other languages, so that the women do not have 
          9   difficulty in making their way through the services 
         10   of the particular banks. 
         11            It is important that BankBoston and Fleet 
         12   have the opportunity to continue their work and to 
         13   continue it together.  Thank you. 
         14            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.
         15            MR. GUZZI:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         16   Paul Guzzi, and I'm president and CEO of the Greater 
         17   Boston Chamber of Commerce. 
         18            Boston is a vibrant, world-class city with 
         19   important cultural, education, and medical 
         20   institutions, as well as an innovative economy.  A 
         21   great city like Boston should have a world-class 
         22   bank located within its borders to meet our unique 
         23   regional needs.  This merger ensures that result.  
         24   But we should also judge this merger by whether 
         25   Fleet-Boston can meet very high standards in terms 
          1   of customer service, community outreach, and 
          2   investment in corporate citizenship. 
          3            I am convinced that Fleet-Boston is 
          4   committed to maintain high performance standards in 
          5   each of these areas; and for those reasons, we 
          6   encourage you to support this merger.
          7            MR. MEADE:  Good afternoon.  Thank you for 
          8   this opportunity to testify. 
          9            My name is Peter Meade.  I come to you as 
         10   an individual who is a customer of Fleet Bank and as 
         11   an individual who ran an organization, a regional 
         12   business organization, that had been supported by a 
         13   line of credit from Fleet Bank. 
         14            I want to say to you that the leadership of 
         15   both banks and their contribution to this community 
         16   range from laudable to singularly extraordinary 
         17   kinds of contributions that many times businesses 
         18   don't make.  They have played an important part as 
         19   the pillars of this community. 
         20            I also believe that if this merger had not 
         21   taken place, the man you talk to at the bank would 
         22   be answering the phone in Atlanta or North Carolina, 
         23   in New York or San Francisco.  And so I strongly 
         24   urge you to approve this merger. 
         25            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          1   much. 
          2            MR. MACDONALD:  My name is Alan Macdonald, 
          3   and I'm the executive director of the Massachusetts 
          4   Business Roundtable, which is a group of 75 
          5   executives from leading institutions in the state, 
          6   leading by nature of their size and activity in the 
          7   economy.  We really exist to help those large 
          8   institutions be involved in channeling their public 
          9   involvement for the improvement of the quality of 
         10   life in Massachusetts, and we have existed for 20 
         11   years in doing that kind of service. 
         12            We work very closely with headquartered 
         13   businesses in Massachusetts, and we find that the 
         14   effectiveness of the public involvement really is 
         15   helped tremendously by the headquarters in 
         16   Massachusetts, and by the fact that the leading 
         17   executives are here, part of the community, part of 
         18   the life, and that they are able to see the needs of 
         19   the community in helping the institutions to support 
         20   those needs. 
         21            As a practical matter, what is happening in 
         22   the banking industry as we see it, around the world 
         23   in fact, is that it takes some financial size to 
         24   remain independent.  And to be headquartered in 
         25   Massachusetts, we want to have a bank that has the 
          1   financial size to provide the very resources that we 
          2   note today that we worry about losing and not having 
          3   administered in a proper way. 
          4            We think that the kinds of problems we hear 
          5   today, whether they're CRA or otherwise directed, 
          6   are the kinds that we have public officials to worry 
          7   about regardless of size.  And we really favor this 
          8   combination of Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston 
          9   so that we will have the resources in our community 
         10   to be placed in the very spots that we worry about 
         11   losing those resources.  So we support, and hope you 
         12   will, the combination. 
         13            Thank you very much. 
         14            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         15   much. 
         16            MR. JUSTIS:  My name is Robert Justis.  I'm 
         17   here to speak in support of the merger.  I prepared 
         18   15 minutes worth of comments, and I have submitted 
         19   them for the record.  I can't speak that fast, so 
         20   I'll just excerpt a couple of the comments. 
         21            I'm presently the economic development 
         22   director for the Central Vermont Public Service 
         23   Corporation and also a member of the Fleet INCITY 
         24   Advisory Board. 
         25            Immediately prior to my present job, I was 
          1   for over four years the CEO of a nonprofit community 
          2   development corporation -- Northern Community 
          3   Investment Corporation -- that serves the Northeast 
          4   Kingdom and the North Country of New Hampshire, six 
          5   counties having as many square miles as the State of 
          6   Connecticut and some of the highest concentrations 
          7   of poverty in northern New England. 
          8            It was at NCIC that I first came to know 
          9   well and develop great respect for Fleet Financial 
         10   Group.  During the time I spent with NCIC between 
         11   1990 and 1994, Fleet was an active partner with us 
         12   in our housing development and business lending 
         13   activities. 
         14            You will recall that the early '90s were 
         15   especially difficult economic times in northern New 
         16   England.  Both Fleet and NCIC had our share of 
         17   troubled clients and projects together.  Throughout 
         18   this difficult period, Fleet was diligent and fair 
         19   in working with NCIC, and both organizations 
         20   survived intact and continued to do good work. 
         21            I sincerely hope that you will approve the 
         22   merger in the interests of the communities of our 
         23   service area. 
         24            Thank you very much for the opportunity to 
         25   speak.
          1            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          2   much, and we appreciate having your longer statement 
          3   for the record.
          4            MR. BRETT:  Former Congressman Mo Udall 
          5   once said, "Everything has been said, but not by 
          6   everyone," so I'll be extremely brief here.
          7            My name is Jim Brett, and I'm the president 
          8   and CEO of the New England Council.  New England 
          9   Council is the oldest regional business organization 
         10   in the United States.  It is made up of large and 
         11   small companies, academic and health institutions, 
         12   nonprofit and for-profit; and our purpose is to 
         13   promote economic growth and high quality of life in 
         14   New England. 
         15            If we were giving out a gold medal this 
         16   year, it would go to Fleet Bank for the work that 
         17   they have done on behalf the New England economy 
         18   promoting economic vitality. 
         19            I am here in support of a combination of 
         20   Fleet Financial and BankBoston.  The Chamber of 
         21   Commerce here in Boston did a study last year, and 
         22   they talked about one of the leading industries here 
         23   in greater Boston area, financial services, in 
         24   particular the banking industry. 
         25            With this new combination of two major 
          1   banks, it will be a major player here in the city 
          2   and the state and the region.  It has already been 
          3   alluded to about this could have been a worst-case 
          4   scenario of an outside bank coming in and bringing 
          5   about a merger.  This merge makes sense for the 
          6   city, it makes sense for the region.  So I think 
          7   there are tremendous benefits here. 
          8            They have been an outstanding neighbor, a 
          9   citizen.  You have heard the testimony this morning 
         10   about all of the volunteer hours that they give.  I 
         11   think this is good news for our region.  I look 
         12   forward to the merger being enacted. 
         13            Thank you very much for your attention. 
         14            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         15   much. 
         16            MR. MACHTLEY:  Hello.  My name is Ron 
         17   Machtley.  I've been a lifelong resident of Rhode 
         18   Island.  During my adult years, I've been a naval 
         19   officer, a lawyer, for six years a United States 
         20   Congressman, and now I'm president of Bryant College 
         21   in Smithfield, Rhode Island. 
         22            From these various vantage points I have 
         23   observed both BankBoston and Fleet Financial.  They 
         24   have been wonderful corporate citizens of our state, 
         25   taking care of our citizens. 
          1            I believe, as a college which has 
          2   instituted the first financial service program in 
          3   New England, that banking is going to change 
          4   dramatically just as the telecommunications industry 
          5   has.  If we do not have a large regional bank, we 
          6   will be taken over by an out-of-region bank or a 
          7   bank out of this country.  It is absolutely 
          8   important to our region that we have CEOs who are 
          9   New Englanders, who are here to take care of us.
         10            There are those who testified today that 
         11   there is need for capital to low, medium, moderate, 
         12   and minority populations.  I agree with that.  But 
         13   where Fleet has excelled and BankBoston has excelled 
         14   is not just in capital, but ensuring that the people 
         15   in our state and our region have education. 
         16            They have provided a Women's Resource 
         17   Summit in which over 600 women came to Bryant 
         18   College at no cost to learn the fundamentals of 
         19   business entrepreneurship, financial resource and 
         20   management.  They've provided capital for our joint 
         21   venture Bryant School of Design.  BankBoston funded 
         22   our World Trade Day where 600 businesses learned. 
         23            This is an organization, both at BankBoston 
         24   and Fleet Financial, which is committed to our 
         25   region.  And for that reason, I strongly support the 
          1   merger and hope that you will support it as well. 
          2            Thank you very much.
          3            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          4   much.
          5            MR. SOTO:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
          6   Felix Soto.  I'm the owner of J&M Auto Sales located 
          7   at 235 Hyde Park Avenue in Jamaica Plain. 
          8            I am in favor of this merger because three 
          9   years ago I came to Fleet Bank from another banking 
         10   institution, and Fleet really took a serious look at 
         11   my situation and where I wanted to go. 
         12            Ever since, I have been growing.  Fleet has 
         13   supported me 100 percent.  They have given me 
         14   several lines of credit and loans, and also they 
         15   have approved loans to buy property where my 
         16   business is, which other banking institutions didn't 
         17   do.  And also they have given me a piece of the 
         18   American dream, to own my own house, and I'm very 
         19   thankful for that. 
         20            I thank Ron Walker that was the person who 
         21   really introduced me to the Fleet CDC, Grant 
         22   Patterson and Mark Hartunian, who helped me in every 
         23   way possible.  I really thank you, Fleet Bank, and I 
         24   am in favor of the merger. 
         25            Thank you very much. 
          1            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          2   much.
          3            MR. TORRES:  My name is Felix Torres.  I'm 
          4   the executive director of Manchester Neighborhood 
          5   Housing Services in New Hampshire.  We're the 
          6   largest community-based, nonprofit housing developer 
          7   in the State of New Hampshire.  I'm here to support 
          8   the merger, and that should come as no surprise. 
          9            We provide affordable housing.  We do home 
         10   ownership lending and counseling, and we do 
         11   community advocacy.  Fleet and BankBoston have been 
         12   partners of ours from the very beginning, and I'm 
         13   not here to dwell on the past.  But it is important 
         14   to say that their commitment has been total, it has 
         15   been innovative, it has been creative, and it has 
         16   been substantial. 
         17            We believe the merger is important, one, 
         18   because we need a large bank in New England.  I 
         19   don't want to call Columbus.  I don't want to go to 
         20   New York.  I don't want to go to Charlotte.  Boston 
         21   is about as far as I want to travel to talk to a 
         22   banker. 
         23            Second, we think that the sum of the whole 
         24   ought to be greater than the individual parts.  Our 
         25   history, we have gone through mergers before with 
          1   both BankBoston and Fleet.  In each case in 
          2   Manchester, they have put more resources on the 
          3   street to help low-income families and low-income 
          4   neighborhoods. 
          5            Finally, we have a long relationship with 
          6   Fleet and BankBoston.  We know how to work with 
          7   them, and we look forward to continuing to work with 
          8   them as a unified entity. 
          9            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         10   much. 
         11            MR. JOHNSON:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         12   Douglas Johnson.  I'm president of Heritage 
         13   Consulting Group, a Providence-based firm, a 
         14   management consulting firm that has the privilege 
         15   over the last ten years of working with Fleet 
         16   Financial Group. 
         17            We were first engaged by Fleet back in 1989 
         18   with the opportunity to support the development of 
         19   its initial Community Reinvestment Act statement.  
         20   Since that time, we have grown as a firm, as a 
         21   little, small business in Rhode Island, to the point 
         22   where now we have a wide variety of clients that are 
         23   based both here in New England and elsewhere in the 
         24   United States. 
         25            We're here today to support this merger 
          1   because we believe it provides an opportunity for 
          2   small businesses such as ours to interact and to 
          3   obtain important business from major corporations 
          4   such as Fleet, BankBoston. 
          5            It has been a great relationship for our 
          6   firm.  We have, over the years, managed to grow our 
          7   business to the point where we believe that if other 
          8   businesses follow a similar pattern, they too will 
          9   benefit enormously from this proposed merger. 
         10            We thank you for this opportunity and 
         11   certainly endorse what is being proposed before you. 
         12            Thank you. 
         13            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         14   much. 
         15            MR. LANGLEY:  My name is Dennis Langley, 
         16   the executive director for the Urban League of Rhode 
         17   Island. 
         18            The global society means more than 
         19   geographical location to us.  It requires 
         20   organizations and businesses to position themselves 
         21   for survival.  The mega-society sees distance as no 
         22   obstacle in transacting businesses; therefore, 
         23   innovative thinking and concepts must be developed. 
         24            Fleet Bank, in conjunction with Boston, 
         25   recognizes the need to readjust and to position 
          1   itself for survival within our society.  We need 
          2   that within the Northeast Region.  Failing to do 
          3   that, someone else will take the task and move on 
          4   with the system, which obviously would leave it to 
          5   be noncompliant to many of the concerns you have 
          6   heard earlier on.  We are, therefore, in support of 
          7   this merger. 
          8            Two concerns:  one, that they continue 
          9   their CRA policies; two, we look at the downsizing 
         10   and the employment of those individuals that will be 
         11   laid off.  We are concerned with that, because if 
         12   they do that, that will be to the demise of our 
         13   society. 
         14            Finally, please, Fleet needs us.  We need 
         15   Fleet and BankBoston.  We wholeheartedly support 
         16   this venture.  The merger is important.  It is 
         17   productive to our community.  Please don't let 
         18   another agency or another business come in to take 
         19   over.  Grant them the opportunity to do what is 
         20   prudent for us in this community. 
         21            Thank you. 
         22            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         23   much. 
         24            MS. SATTERWHITE:  Good afternoon.  My name 
         25   is Cherylyn Satterwhite.  I'm the executive director 
          1   of the Dunbar Community Center in Springfield, 
          2   Mass., and I am speaking I guess for western 
          3   Massachusetts, I do believe. 
          4            I have a stack of cards, and I'm trying to 
          5   figure out how to summarize these cards for you. 
          6            I thought I might speak to Fleet in an 
          7   instance or perspective that has not been spoken to, 
          8   since I've been here at least, and that is Fleet's 
          9   commitment to youth development. 
         10            Fleet and BankBoston I've had very 
         11   favorable experiences with over the past several 
         12   years.  Like most banks, they maintain seats on our 
         13   board of directors, contributing annually to 
         14   operating expenses, but show some flexibility and 
         15   are able to respond additionally in times of 
         16   expenses, Fleet keeping children warm when boilers 
         17   burn in the middle of the winter. 
         18            Fleet, through Agnes Scanlon, helped to 
         19   move the agency's technology to the 21st century, 
         20   assuring that inner-city kids will have equal 
         21   opportunity and access to computer literacy and to 
         22   the wonderful world of the Web. 
         23            The Center has embarked on a $4.5 million 
         24   capital campaign.  Fleet again has taken a major 
         25   role in leadership of developing young children.  
          1   The campaign is chaired by the Western Mass. 
          2   regional president, Richard Bilowitz.  The New 
          3   Building Steering Committee is co-chaired by a Fleet 
          4   officer, Neal McBride, who has shared resources for 
          5   many years to the Center. 
          6            Through the efforts of Glenn Davis and 
          7   Martin Guiten, the Fleet CDC has extended a 
          8   significant line of credit to help us move forward 
          9   toward developing young people and producing 
         10   productive citizens. 
         11            So we speak in favor of this merger and 
         12   Fleet's demonstration of support for developing 
         13   youth.  Thank you.
         14            MR. CAMPBELL:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         15   Jeff Campbell.  I'm president and CEO of Cuts and 
         16   Creations, Inc.  We were founded in 1994.  We're a 
         17   unisex hair salon, barber shop.  We have one store 
         18   in the Westgate Mall in Brockton.  That's our 
         19   headquarters store.  We have a brother store in the 
         20   Mystic Mall in Chelsea called Just Cuts. 
         21            Cuts and Creations is a growing company.  
         22   We have about 37 employees now.  We just recently 
         23   signed a ten-year lease with the Arsenal Mall in 
         24   Watertown Massachusetts for an expansion store 
         25   called Cuts and Creation II. 
          1            We would like to thank Fleet and the CDC 
          2   and also the SBA for the opportunity for us to grow.  
          3   We both employ about 20 to 25 more employees in the 
          4   community.  And I signed a lease, I didn't have the 
          5   funds, but we went to Fleet, and they granted us the 
          6   funds, and they have been working with me strong. 
          7            Mark Hartunian, Grant Patterson, and a 
          8   mixture of Fleet CDC and the SBA have been good to 
          9   Cuts and Creations, Inc.  And I think it's a help 
         10   and a good help to the community, and the merger 
         11   would help the community also. 
         12            I'd also like to say thanks, from Jeff 
         13   Campbell who is here from the company, to Fleet, and 
         14   I hope you guys grant the merger. 
         15            Thank you. 
         16            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         17   much.
         18            MR. SCHWARTZ:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         19   Eric Schwartz.  I'm the cofounder and president of 
         20   Citizens Schools. 
         21            Our mission at Citizens Schools is to help 
         22   educate children and strengthen the community 
         23   through a network of ten after-school and summer 
         24   school programs spread across the City of Boston.  
         25   We have had a chance to work closely with both Fleet 
          1   Bank and, particularly in the last year, BankBoston 
          2   in developing really a network of adults who can get 
          3   involved in kids' lives. 
          4            I have here the course catalogues 
          5   representing 124 different courses are being offered 
          6   to 9-to-14-year-old children this summer, all led by 
          7   volunteers in this community, ranging from 
          8   seamstresses who work out of their home, to small 
          9   funeral home operators in Roslindale, to employees 
         10   of large institutions like BankBoston and Fidelity. 
         11            I guess the message that I would leave you 
         12   with is that when it comes to corporate citizenship, 
         13   bigger can be better.  And in the case of 
         14   BankBoston, they have really worked with us in a 
         15   very hand-tailored way.  We have had an opportunity 
         16   to work with employees in this very large 
         17   organization and have them provide very hand- 
         18   tailored and wonderful personalized support to 
         19   children in Boston. 
         20            So thank you, and I do support the merger. 
         21            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         22   much.
         23            MR. LIEBERMAN:  Hi.  I'm Aaron Lieberman, 
         24   president and CEO and one of the founders of 
         25   Jumpstart.  Thank you very much for letting me 
          1   speak, especially before this cutoff. 
          2            I am here because five years ago, when I 
          3   first wanted to start Jumpstart as a 22-year-old 
          4   right out of college, I had a dream and absolutely 
          5   no hope of getting anyone to support us in the City 
          6   of Boston, but two local institutions really 
          7   responded. 
          8            The Fleet trust officer met with us, 
          9   figured out what could work, and provided one of our 
         10   first grants to get Jumpstart up and going.  
         11   BankBoston shortly followed with becoming one of our 
         12   first real corporate sponsors to support all of our 
         13   aspects. 
         14            I think that just tells part of the story 
         15   of how they have helped us build Jumpstart into a 
         16   national organization, now based in Boston, but 
         17   touching the lives of over 1,000 preschoolers this 
         18   summer.  There have been so many different ways, but 
         19   the involvement has really been quite deep. 
         20            In New Haven BankBoston has been one of our 
         21   lead corporate sponsors.  Kim Alene, a BankBoston 
         22   staff person, has served on our Boston Board of 
         23   Advisors.  Volunteers from both banks have served 
         24   regularly at our service days.  Even the little 
         25   stuff, the furniture that we all sit on in our 
          1   headquarters was donated through BankBoston, and 
          2   they have even provided countless conference space 
          3   and things like that.  For us it has been an 
          4   important partnership on all levels, and they have 
          5   really helped us make change. 
          6            Thanks.
          7            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          8   much. 
          9            MR. AXELROD:  Good afternoon, ladies and 
         10   gentlemen.  My name is Carl Axelrod, and I chair the 
         11   New England Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation 
         12   League.  As chairman I have the honor of delivering 
         13   to you the remarks -- or excerpts from the remarks, 
         14   given the one-minute limitation -- of Lenny Zakim, 
         15   our esteemed executive director who could not be 
         16   with us today. 
         17            We at the New England Office of the ADL are 
         18   pleased to be here today to support this merger and 
         19   to participate in this important hearing.  We were 
         20   founded as a Jewish civil rights organization in 
         21   1913 to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of 
         22   bigotry and to secure equal justice for all. 
         23            To translate those democratic ideals into 
         24   action, we have utilized public advocacy, education, 
         25   coalition building, and programmatic initiatives 
          1   that connect people of different racial, religious 
          2   and ethnic groups and economic classes with each 
          3   other and our community. 
          4            We have been fortunate at ADL in New 
          5   England in having Fleet participate with us in many 
          6   creative and new programs, including Black Jewish 
          7   Seder, the Catholic Jewish Seder, Team Harmony in 
          8   particular, and A World of Difference.  The A World 
          9   of Difference program was supported initially by 
         10   Fleet and by one other major corporation.  They have 
         11   been fantastic in terms of the financial support as 
         12   well as in the volunteer help that they have given 
         13   to us. 
         14            And with your permission, I would like to 
         15   submit the remarks of Lenny Zakim to the Board.
         16            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Yes.  Please do. 
         17            MR. WIDMER:  My name is Michael Widmer.  
         18   For the past seven years, I've been president of the 
         19   Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a nonprofit 
         20   organization dealing with fiscal, tax and economic 
         21   issues in Massachusetts. 
         22            Both Fleet and BankBoston are strong 
         23   supporters of the Foundation and have taken an 
         24   active part in our activities.  Most recently, for 
         25   example, BankBoston underwrote a major study of the 
          1   Massachusetts economy which we released last week. 
          2            I want to emphasize two points.  The first 
          3   is that having a corporate headquarters in Boston 
          4   makes a huge difference in terms of that company's 
          5   commitment to the community, whether that commitment 
          6   takes the form of leadership, dollars, volunteer 
          7   support, or an overall level of energy. 
          8            Secondly, financial services institutions 
          9   headquartered here have been particularly 
         10   conscientious in meeting their public 
         11   responsibilities, including both BankBoston and 
         12   Fleet. 
         13            In contrast, when local corporations are 
         14   bought by out-of-state entities, a sharply reduced 
         15   commitment to this community inevitably follows.  
         16   Given these facts, the merger of Fleet and 
         17   BankBoston with headquarters in Boston is especially 
         18   important for this city, state, and region. 
         19            Thank you. 
         20            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         21   much. 
         22            MR. REICKER:  My name is Edward Lane 
         23   Reicker.  I've been a banking lawyer for nearly 40 
         24   years and a banking law teacher for about 20.  I 
         25   will leave some remarks with the panel. 
          1            But in brief, it seems to me that if the 
          2   past 20 years teaches us anything, it is that 
          3   mergers of this magnitude are inevitable.  So the 
          4   only real question is whether this merger is 
          5   superior to some of the other kinds of mergers that 
          6   might come along if this merger is not approved. 
          7            And it seems to me that the banking public 
          8   and borrowers will be better served by dealing with 
          9   bankers that they know in Boston, rather than 
         10   bankers in perhaps San Francisco or New York or 
         11   Frankfurt.  I think that would even be true for 
         12   community activists who would rather negotiate their 
         13   demands with bankers they know. 
         14            And, finally, it seems to me that as a 
         15   citizen of Massachusetts and a resident of Boston, 
         16   both Massachusetts and Boston will be better places 
         17   if they are the home of a major global banking 
         18   organization. 
         19            Thank you. 
         20            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
         21            MR. BROWN:  I'm David Brown, the CFO and 
         22   part owner of the Purple Cactus, which a burrito and 
         23   wrap bar.  We have two locations, one in the South 
         24   End and one now in Jamaica Plain.  I have menus if 
         25   anybody is hungry. 
          1            This winter we were at a critical juncture.  
          2   We had eroded a lot of our capital.  We had lost 
          3   some money through mistakes.  We had one really 
          4   strong store, and we found a great location. 
          5            We went around to talk to banks.  I heard a 
          6   lot of "We don't do restaurants.  You're not making 
          7   money.  Come back in a year."  But we found a bank, 
          8   Fleet, that really believed in us.  They came, Grant 
          9   Patterson, others came.  They met with us, they ate 
         10   the food, they saw our lines.  They took our 
         11   financials, and three weeks later we had conditional 
         12   approval. 
         13            A lot of work went on from there, but they 
         14   really made us turn the business around, and we're 
         15   very grateful.  And if that's what they are going to 
         16   do for small businesses as a combined entity, the 
         17   area will be better off. 
         18            Thank you.
         19            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  And, last. 
         20            MR. FARRELL:  My name is William Farrell.  
         21   I'm general counsel to the Rhode Island Bankers 
         22   Association.  The RIBA is the major trade banking 
         23   association for the banking community in Rhode 
         24   Island.  Bank of Boston, through its former 
         25   subsidiary The Rhode Island Hospital Trust, and 
          1   Fleet have been active members in our association 
          2   since its inception in 1915. 
          3            One of the major objectives of our 
          4   association has been to develop the legal and 
          5   regulatory environment that would foster the 
          6   development of a major national banking association 
          7   located here in New England.  I believe that this 
          8   proposed merger goes a long way in accomplishing 
          9   that objective. 
         10            I have also had numerous opportunities to 
         11   work with both institutions on community issues, and 
         12   I believe the initiatives that have been approved in 
         13   the past will continue with this new merger. 
         14            Thank you. 
         15            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         16   much.
         17            At the Presiding Officer's prerogative, we 
         18   are going to skip for the moment Panels 11 and 12 
         19   and go to Panel 13, which includes Congressman 
         20   Barney Frank and Congressman Delahunt.  If you would 
         21   come on up.
         22            (Pause)
         23            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  I'm pleased to 
         24   welcome you, and if you would start. 

Last update: December 3, 2010