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Public Meeting Transcripts

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

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

Transcript of Panel Fifteen

       13            MR. WILSON:  I'm John Wilson.  I work at 
         14   MIT.  I'm assistant professor and director of 
         15   foundation relations but more importantly, I'm head 
         16   of the Greater Boston Morehouse Alumni Association. 
         17            I want to make a simple point, and it is 
         18   less in the realm of Fleet's wallet -- that is, the 
         19   investment lending policies and financial services 
         20   and all these economic politics -- and more in the 
         21   realm of their heart.  I want to highlight a 
         22   relationship that suggests that Fleet has been a 
         23   good citizen and will be a better citizen after the 
         24   merger. 
         25            I think most people are aware that the 
          1   African-American male is worse off in any number of 
          2   social ills.  And Morehouse College is the only 
          3   higher ed. institution devoted to educating 
          4   African-American males; and we, as an alumni 
          5   association in the greater Boston area, are trying 
          6   to address the problems as well. 
          7            Fleet has been a great partner with us in 
          8   generating scholarships.  Every year, we have a Mo' 
          9   Better Gala, an annual glee club concert, and we 
         10   partner with Spike Lee.  Fleet has been the flagship 
         11   organization.  We also have a community agency 
         12   called Bridging Bridges, and Fleet has come not only 
         13   with their money but also with their presence. 
         14            So amidst all the voices, I want to be one 
         15   that says that Fleet can do the right thing, has 
         16   done the right thing, and will continue to do the 
         17   right thing. 
         18            And as I close, I ask you to support them 
         19   and also the Boston Bank of Commerce.  I think Fleet 
         20   can do the right thing by them as well. 
         21            Thank you. 
         22            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         23   much. 
         24            MR. HAMILTON:  Good evening.  My name is 
         25   Sam Hamilton.  I'm the executive director of the 
          1   Hartford Economic Development Corporation and the 
          2   Greater Hartford Business Development Center. 
          3            HEDCo and GHBDC are private, local 
          4   development corporations which pride technical 
          5   assistance and loans to small business in the metro 
          6   Hartford area.  We manage a pool of more than $20 
          7   million of which Fleet and BankBoston have been 
          8   substantial contributors to over the course of time. 
          9            Fleet also, and BankBoston, provided to us 
         10   support that makes our services -- both technical 
         11   assistance and loan packaging services -- free to 
         12   all who come forth looking to provide or to seek 
         13   lending opportunities within the city and the metro 
         14   area of Hartford. 
         15            During of the course of our 25-year 
         16   existing, both Fleet and BankBoston have been active 
         17   supporters of small business development with 
         18   respect to access to capital and technical 
         19   assistance to support, sustain, and grow businesses.  
         20   I have experienced firsthand the continuation of 
         21   their strong commitment during and after previous 
         22   mergers and acquisitions.  In my opinion, I believe 
         23   the same will be true with this proposed merger. 
         24            I have found both Fleet and BankBoston to 
         25   be especially sensitive to the needs of the 
          1   community.  The creation of Fleet Community 
          2   Development Corporation, and First Community Bank 
          3   are prime examples of each institution's initiative 
          4   to provide means for greater access to the bank's 
          5   products. 
          6            In closing, in my capacity as chairman of 
          7   the Board of directors of the United Way of the 
          8   Capitol Area, Past Chairman of the Hartford 
          9   Neighborhood Housing Support Collaborative, and a 
         10   member of the local initiative support corporation 
         11   local advisory committee, I am also able to confirm 
         12   Fleet and BankBoston's involvement and support of 
         13   innumerable programs and activities that empower 
         14   people, provides comprehensive youth development, 
         15   enhances educational opportunity and performance, 
         16   strengthens families, and creates a strong healthy 
         17   community for all. 
         18            Thank you. 
         19            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         20   much.
         21            MR. THOMAS:  I am Henry Thomas, I am 
         22   president and CEO of the Urban League of 
         23   Springfield, Massachusetts, and former police 
         24   commissioner for the City of Springfield. 
         25            On behalf of the Urban League of 
          1   Springfield, we are in support of the merger between 
          2   BankBoston and Fleet.  The Urban League has enjoyed 
          3   a long working relationship with both banks and has 
          4   been an excellent -- it has been an excellent 
          5   experience in both cases. 
          6            Further, we have witnessed their work in 
          7   the western part of the state; and their CRA records 
          8   are commendable.  More specifically, over the last 
          9   five years, the Urban League has had an opportunity 
         10   to work with Fleet Bank on local and regional 
         11   issues. 
         12            While serving as vice-president of the 
         13   national Urban League on the special assignment for 
         14   two years, I had privy to the extraordinary work of 
         15   Fleet Bank in the area of community development. 
         16            Through Agnes Bundy Scanlan's leadership 
         17   and foresight, Fleet Bank funded Urban League 
         18   throughout its footprint to levels over one million 
         19   and a half dollars.  This funding was for the 
         20   purpose of building capacity to deliver economic and 
         21   work fair development -- work force development 
         22   services throughout the northeast region. 
         23            In addition, Ms. Scanlon has forged a 
         24   partnership with the national Urban League to 
         25   produce conferences aimed at improving Fleet Bank's 
          1   understanding of multidimensional needs in the 
          2   marketplace and to effectively communicate their CRA 
          3   strategies.
          4            In closing, the only caveat the Urban 
          5   League would offer is that whatever economic 
          6   business benefit accruing to these two institutions 
          7   should be shared with consumers to some extent.  
          8   Additional capacity and equity programs, mortgage 
          9   loan products, and philanthropic giving should all 
         10   be reasonable expectations resulting from this 
         11   merger. 
         12            Thank you.
         13            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         14   much. 
         15            MR. SOSKIN:  I'm Sol Soskin, director of 
         16   Procurement Technical Assistance Program, Long 
         17   Island Development Corporation, a not-for-profit 
         18   501(c)(3) membership organization in Long Island, 
         19   New York. 
         20            In business since 1980, Long Island 
         21   Development is a certified development company under 
         22   the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 Loan 
         23   Program, as well as the branch bank of New York Job 
         24   Development Authority. 
         25            In addition to its loan programs, Long 
          1   Island Development Corporation is a designated 
          2   Department of Defense procurement technical 
          3   assistance center for Long Island; and Fleet has 
          4   been a long-time supporter of the various programs 
          5   of Long Island Development Corporation, has 
          6   partnered with allied LIDC to help small business, 
          7   including small disadvantaged business, 
          8   minority-owned and women-owned businesses. 
          9            Currently, the president of LIDC is John 
         10   Dawvy, senior vice-president of Fleet Bank. 
         11            Fleet Bank has been a leading first 
         12   mortgage lender on Long Island under the SBA 504 
         13   Loan Program for the past five years.  With Fleet's 
         14   assistance, LIDC has been able to make over one 
         15   thousand small business loans totaling approximately 
         16   $350 million to Long Island companies. 
         17            Fleet Bank is a financial supporter for Kim 
         18   Technical Assistance Program which provides free 
         19   counseling to all small businesses -- chiefly small 
         20   disadvantaged, women-owned, and minority-owned 
         21   businesses -- to obtain and perform on government 
         22   and private sector contracts. 
         23            PTAP is supported by grants from the 
         24   Department of Defense matched by private sector.  
         25   Fleet Bank has been providing matching funds for 
          1   PTAP since 1996.
          2            Thanks to Fleet's participation, the Long 
          3   Island Procurement Technical Assistance Program has 
          4   successfully helped over 2,000 Long Island small 
          5   businesses obtain approximately $275 million in 
          6   government and other contracts. 
          7            In connection with the procurement program, 
          8   LIDC, and Fleet coventure initiative, Black Women 
          9   Enterprises, a New York Statewide coalition of black 
         10   women-owned businesses led by BWE, have partnered 
         11   with National Women Business Owner's Corporation to 
         12   help companies be certified as women-owned 
         13   corporations. 
         14            Fleet has been an active advocate for small 
         15   business on Long Island for many years.  Fleet's 
         16   activities with Long Island Development Corporation 
         17   have been instrumental in helping LIDC become one of 
         18   the leading SBA 504 certified development companies 
         19   in the nation, as well as helping LIDC become one of 
         20   the most active DOD procurement technical assistance 
         21   program. 
         22            The proposed merger will bring additional 
         23   resources to the table which will benefit our small 
         24   business customers.  The sheer size of the Bank of 
         25   Boston will amplify the financial abilities of Fleet 
          1   Financial Corporation, which will make more products 
          2   and services available to our Long Island and Boston 
          3   small business markets.
          4            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Mr. Soskin, can you 
          5   wrap it up.
          6            MR. SOSKIN:  Thank you.  And we strongly 
          7   urge that the Reserve Board approve this merger. 
          8            Thank you. 
          9            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         10   much. 
         11            MR. GAGLIARDI:  Hello.  My name is Peter 
         12   Gagliardi.  I'm the executive director of the 
         13   Hampden/Hampshire Housing Partnership, a nonprofit 
         14   organization that is the major provider of housing 
         15   services in the 43 cities and towns in Hampden and 
         16   Hampshire County. 
         17            Fleet Bank and BankBoston have both been 
         18   significant partners in our efforts to provide 
         19   affordable housing and to revitalize neighborhoods 
         20   and communities. 
         21            In my written testimony, you will see a 
         22   list of very positive achievements in which one or 
         23   both of these banks have been a partner with us.  
         24   Perhaps premier of those is our First Home Program 
         25   through which over 3,000 households have been 
          1   educated in becoming first-time home buyers, and 500 
          2   of those have purchased their first homes. 
          3            While citing very significant achievements, 
          4   I also want to raise a couple of cautions.  We are 
          5   concerned as we see banks merge and become larger 
          6   about them becoming distant and harder to access 
          7   from cities the size of Springfield, the central 
          8   city in our region.  We are hopeful that the 
          9   commitments that are made will ultimately be 
         10   committed to writings so that in the event we're 
         11   talking about a successor bank some day, that we 
         12   will be able to look back and have some benchmarks 
         13   by which to compare the performance. 
         14            Thank you very much. 
         15            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.
         16            MR. KUMRO:  My name is Richard Kumro.  I'm 
         17   vice-president and general counsel of the Community 
         18   Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit community 
         19   lender in New York City that serves the states of 
         20   New York and New Jersey.  You would refer to us as a 
         21   lending consortium or an intermediary in all 
         22   likelihood. 
         23            We have a wonderful 25-year track record 
         24   that I was looking forward to regaling you with; 
         25   but, obviously, I won't do that now.  Suffice it to 
          1   say that our success in the last 25 years would not 
          2   have been possible without the support of financial 
          3   institutions in the New York area that have been 
          4   providing us with financing.  And among that group, 
          5   which now numbers in the 80s or 90s, Fleet stands 
          6   out for the breadth and depth of its support of our 
          7   programs.  When we solicit a bank to join our -- to 
          8   join participation in our programs, we essentially 
          9   require that they participate in two and then offer 
         10   them a bit of a smorgasbord of other programs to 
         11   take a look at. 
         12            Fleet has been doing everything.  They do 
         13   not simply take the easy way out and provide us with 
         14   warehousing line of credit and participate in the 
         15   specialized secondary market that we ask our banks 
         16   to do.  They have been helping us create new 
         17   programs.  They have been providing all sorts of 
         18   technical assistance.  And they've really just 
         19   supported -- they are essentially unique among our 
         20   large group of banks in doing everything in 
         21   supporting us in all of our lending areas. 
         22            Beyond their money, they also provide us 
         23   with great leadership in serving on our boards and 
         24   committees.  We have a long-standing relationship 
         25   with them.  They are very, very strong supporters of 
          1   affordable housing. 
          2            Thank you. 
          3            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.
          4            MR. SIKES:  Good evening.  It's been a 
          5   beautiful day out there.  If you missed it, take my 
          6   word for it, it's really nice out there. 
          7            I am Chris Sikes, and I am the executive 
          8   director of the Western Massachusetts Enterprise 
          9   Fund.  We are a community development financial 
         10   institute making micro-enterprise and small business 
         11   loans throughout that vast, vast subcontinent of 
         12   western Massachusetts. 
         13            I'm here basically to say that we have had 
         14   an excellent working relationship with Fleet and 
         15   BankBoston, and that is described more fully in my 
         16   written testimony. 
         17            I would just like to highlight the fact 
         18   that Fleet has made significant capital and 
         19   operating grants to us, as well as BankBoston; and 
         20   they have been -- Fleet has been the underwriter of 
         21   our small business loan program of a $500,000 line 
         22   of credit. 
         23            Of particular note, I would like just to 
         24   mention Neal McBride from Fleet, Agnes Bundy Scanlan 
         25   of Fleet, and Martin Geitz from Fleet CDC, as well 
          1   as Mike Glavin from BankBoston, all of whom work 
          2   quite closely with us to have the successful loan 
          3   fund that we are. 
          4            I would also like to say that although we 
          5   make fun of being this vast subcontinent in western 
          6   Mass., it is very critical for us when a merger 
          7   takes place, that we know that the bank that is 
          8   being merged or the merging is headquartered in 
          9   Massachusetts; and, therefore, we feel that this is 
         10   the best that -- in a merging situation that could 
         11   happen for us in western Mass. 
         12            Just two cautions if I could.  One is there 
         13   are no divestitures scheduled for western 
         14   Massachusetts so that we really do hope that one 
         15   plus one equals two. 
         16            And, finally, the other caution is that -- 
         17   or concern is that we hope that after all this is 
         18   over, that there is a very clear partnership 
         19   agreement made with the community groups because 
         20   their well-being is absolutely integral to our 
         21   well-being. 
         22            And I'd just also like to say many, many 
         23   thanks to Fleet CDC, because I really think they are 
         24   taking a lead in understanding what it means to 
         25   invest in the financial intermediaries, which I 
          1   think is the wave of economic development in the 
          2   future. 
          3            Thank you. 
          4            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
          5            MR. TOWERY:  I'm Carlisle Towery, president 
          6   of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation in 
          7   Queens, New York City.  Our mission is the economic 
          8   recovery and revitalization of that older downtown. 
          9            Jamaica underwent some severe economic 
         10   trauma in a short period of time; and since then, it 
         11   has advanced considerably, and a great deal of that 
         12   advancement I can attribute to the involvement of 
         13   banks and the support of banks.  And, certainly, 
         14   Fleet has been there in the forefront.  In fact, 
         15   our -- my conclusion says -- which I will say first 
         16   in the interest of time -- that for us, Fleet has 
         17   been a serious-committed, exceptionally good 
         18   corporate citizen. 
         19            They've provided strong and ongoing 
         20   leadership for our corporation itself.  Two senior 
         21   executives from Nat West served as our chairmen.  
         22   They have contributed to our Board and staff's 
         23   activities in special events and retreats, including 
         24   chairing the fund-raiser.  But most important, they 
         25   have underwritten or they have provided construction 
          1   and permanent financing for several projects we have 
          2   initiated, and we have with them a very flexible 
          3   line of credit that's enabled us to undertake 
          4   numerous strategic small developments.  And that's 
          5   an instrument that has been essentially in our 
          6   operations. 
          7            They participated in the provision of small 
          8   business loans through our revolving loan fund which 
          9   is capitalized by USEDA and by the City with its 
         10   community development block grant funds. 
         11            Just last month, two senior Fleet 
         12   executives hosted a working session with York 
         13   College which is a centerpiece of our development 
         14   which is going to get hooked to Kennedy Airport with 
         15   a new air train.  We think there are economic and 
         16   academic opportunities, and Fleet is helping us 
         17   think that through. 
         18            Working with Fleet's people is inevitably a 
         19   pleasant and productive process for us.  They are 
         20   thoroughly professional, responsive, and 
         21   responsible, and eager to facilitate results to get 
         22   things done. 
         23            I've learned at conferences that -- of 
         24   Fleet's impressive community development and 
         25   reinvestment roles in numerous places, and I just 
          1   repeat for us they've been an exceptionally good 
          2   corporate citizen. 
          3            Thank you.
          4            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          5   much.
          6            MR. MORGO:  Good evening.  My name is Jim 
          7   Morgo.  I'm president of the Long Island Housing 
          8   Partnership.  I'm up from Long Island, New York, for 
          9   my four o'clock testify.  But you folks have been -- 
         10   you folks have been here since about eight so you 
         11   have my condolences.  I'll now switch to 78 rpms. 
         12            The Long Island Housing Partnership is a 
         13   private, not-for-profit initiative that invests 
         14   private and public funds to create housing which in 
         15   turn spurs economic development and neighborhood 
         16   revitalization in low- and moderate-income 
         17   neighborhoods.  And, yes, there are low- and 
         18   moderate-income neighborhoods out on Long Island out 
         19   to the Hamptons.
         20            The Housing Partnership was the first 
         21   not-for-profit public private housing development 
         22   company based solely in the suburbs.  It was our 
         23   nation's first.  It is a consortium of fitness, 
         24   religious, civic, professional, and labor 
         25   organizations. 
          1            The Housing Partnership has enabled more 
          2   than 2500 low- and moderate-income families to 
          3   obtain home ownership in high-priced Long Island.  
          4   The Housing Partnership's success is due in great 
          5   part to the support of private sector partners, and 
          6   one of our most involved partners is Fleet. 
          7            In 1988, Fleet was one of the founding 
          8   members of the Housing Partnership.  Fleet has 
          9   cosponsored educational seminars in mortgage 
         10   counseling and financing for our first-time home 
         11   buyers.  And most importantly, Fleet has made 
         12   investments, the kind of investments envisioned by 
         13   CRA in our low-income neighborhoods, in construction 
         14   financing both for us as a developer and for our 
         15   contractors, and has made inroads to our first-time 
         16   buys that had -- that have very flexible 
         17   underwriting criteria. 
         18            In short, Fleet has been a dedicated 
         19   Housing Partnership member.  Fleet is a responsible 
         20   financial institution that is committed to community 
         21   service, and the Housing Partnership supports the 
         22   proposed merger. 
         23            But I am compelled to add after listening 
         24   to a lot of the testimony and particularly because 
         25   of the incredible urge to merge among financial 
          1   institutions, that the Long Island Housing 
          2   Partnership certainly supports the concept of one 
          3   plus one has to equal more than two. 
          4            We have lost many members and much support 
          5   because of the merging of financial institutions; 
          6   and while we support this merger, we want to make 
          7   sure that the provisions of CRA are followed by 
          8   their intent and in their spirit. 
          9            Thank you very much.
         10            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
         11            MS. PHILLIPS:  Good afternoon.  I'm Karen 
         12   Phillips.  I represent the -- I'm president and CEO 
         13   of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, a 
         14   comprehensive community building initiative that was 
         15   started by the Abyssinian Baptist Church to help the 
         16   revitalization of the community of Harlem.  And I'm 
         17   here today to give you examples of our interaction 
         18   with Fleet and the support that they have given our 
         19   ten-year-old community-based organization. 
         20            The one that Fleet has been supportive of 
         21   is ADC operations.  And we have seen this 
         22   organization -- Fleet grow with its merger with 
         23   other banks in the New York City market, and with 
         24   that, their support to ADC's operations grow. 
         25            One of the best examples of the stand that 
          1   they've taken in community development is a project 
          2   that we currently have underway which is that 
          3   redevelopment, complete gut and rehabilitation of 33 
          4   brownstones in the Harlem community, buildings that 
          5   were previously owned by the City of New York and 
          6   vacant, and this is the first time that the City of 
          7   New York has embarked on housing that is market rate 
          8   and not subsidized. 
          9            We have gone to four of the major banks in 
         10   the New York City market, and Fleet is the one that 
         11   aggressively stepped up to the plate, and even 
         12   though the project was not perfect, have worked with 
         13   us to close and will now be providing the 
         14   construction financing as well as the end loans for 
         15   our buyers, houses that will bring in 
         16   moderate-income families who will help in our 
         17   community building.  And these houses range in 
         18   prices from 325 to 450.  It is a very important 
         19   stand that they have taken with our development and 
         20   other private developers.  They are being a good 
         21   banking citizen. 
         22            The other is that their staff has 
         23   participated and served on our boards and other 
         24   activities in the community, and that with 
         25   additional resources, we think that they can do more 
          1   in communities like Harlem where there is 
          2   economic-disadvantaged communities. 
          3            Thank you. 
          4            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          5   much. 
          6            MR. MORROW:  We have a hook.  We have this 
          7   beeper here. 
          8            My name is Phillip Morrow.  I'm the 
          9   president of the South Bronx Overall Economic 
         10   Development Corporation, which is an economic 
         11   development, industrial development work force, 
         12   CEFI, all of those things. 
         13            Fleet has been involved with us, and we 
         14   have a director, Phil Grossman, who is on our Board 
         15   of Directors.  They're involved with industrial 
         16   financial and commercial financing in the South 
         17   Bronx.  They have provided us with corporate 
         18   support, and they have worked with us on almost 
         19   everything that we do. 
         20            And that's -- one of the things about the 
         21   bank in the territory of Chase and Citibank, Fleet 
         22   has been a major competitor and has been keeping up 
         23   with the major bank, with Chase having 70 percent of 
         24   the business in the Bronx, providing us with support 
         25   that's comparable to what we get from Chase 
          1   Manhattan Bank.  And I think that's laudable when we 
          2   consider how these banks now with their -- after 
          3   their mergers have provided support for 
          4   organizations like ours. 
          5            Ours is a very low-income community.  We 
          6   need everything.  And Fleet has helped us across 
          7   broad range of activities in which we're engaged in 
          8   from financing housing and commercial and industrial 
          9   activities to providing support for our events and 
         10   activities that we run in our community. 
         11            Thank you. 
         12            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.
         13            MR. MARSHALL:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         14   Timothy Marshall, and I'm president of the Jamaica 
         15   Business Resource Center.  And by way of background, 
         16   Jamaica Business Resource Center was designated in 
         17   1994 through presidential authorization to become 
         18   the national model and pilot for President Clinton's 
         19   One-Stop Capital Shop Small Business Program.  And 
         20   since our inception in 1995, we have provided 
         21   technical assistance to over 2800 businesses, 
         22   secured capital financing of over $30 million, and 
         23   have trained over 800 businesses in the fundamentals 
         24   of business management.  And part of this has become 
         25   possible because of strategic partnerships that we 
          1   have with private sector partners, including Fleet 
          2   Bank which has been in a very, very key leadership 
          3   role. 
          4            First of all, let me just share a couple of 
          5   things.  While credit scoring remains a reality 
          6   especially in our community, Fleet Bank has taken an 
          7   enlightened posture relative to understanding, 
          8   serving, and aggressively marketing to the small 
          9   business sector.  And while some banks are extremely 
         10   reluctant to even considering start-ups or in some 
         11   cases, manufacturing businesses, we have had real 
         12   successes with Fleet especially in these areas 
         13   because they're willing to at least look at these 
         14   deals before making a determination on their 
         15   disposition. 
         16            And in my document that will come to you 
         17   following, I'm going to give you some specific 
         18   examples of businesses that Fleet Bank has helped. 
         19            But not only have they worked with 
         20   businesses.  There was a very special initiative 
         21   that we were involved with with the Southeast Queens 
         22   clergy to teach churches how to engage in community 
         23   economic development, and there had been a West 
         24   Indian congregation that had been meeting in the 
         25   gymnasium of the YMCA for several years, and their 
          1   dream was to have their own church and to open a day 
          2   care center. 
          3            And we went to a couple of banks, but when 
          4   we went to Fleet, they worked with us in providing 
          5   technical assistance to that congregation.  
          6   Ultimately, they were successful in securing a 
          7   $1.1 million mortgage to both house the 
          8   congregation, as well as to open a day care center. 
          9            There are many other things that I can say.  
         10   One of the concerns that we would like to raise, not 
         11   so much with Fleet, but the trend towards 
         12   consolidation in the banking industry does cause 
         13   real concerns in communities such as the ones that 
         14   we serve especially as it relates to the loss of 
         15   jobs, potentially reduced services and branches, and 
         16   possibly increased rates. 
         17            Our experience with Fleet, however, has 
         18   been a very strong commitment at the community 
         19   level, with a branch network that listens to the 
         20   concerns raised by the community and has been 
         21   responsive to those concerns in what we believe to 
         22   be a very fair manner. 
         23            So it is for these reasons that we believe 
         24   that Fleet will continue to be an excellent 
         25   corporate citizen that is concerned with the plight 
          1   of those who are most disenfranchised in the 
          2   communities that we serve. 
          3            Thank you very much. 
          4            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
          5            MR. STOKES:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
          6   Keith W. Stokes.  I'm currently the executive 
          7   director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce 
          8   in Newport, Rhode Island. 
          9            My testimony before you today is in strong 
         10   support of the prosed merger.  My support is based 
         11   upon my many years of professional experience in 
         12   affordable housing community development, business 
         13   development, and urban planning. 
         14            From my personal professional viewpoint, 
         15   this merger represents a key opportunity for 
         16   advocates of community reinvestment and development 
         17   to create new strategic partnerships that will 
         18   stimulate innovation and enhance investment 
         19   opportunities for our urban and rural communities. 
         20            Some community leaders might worry that one 
         21   less major bank may reduce the amount of community 
         22   reinvestment activities in the regional marketplace.  
         23   It has been my personal experience that both Fleet 
         24   and Bank of Boston which have historically 
         25   demonstrated the highest level of community 
          1   reinvestment initiative and involvement will meet 
          2   these needs. 
          3            It is also my belief that this level of 
          4   involvement would not only enhance -- with the 
          5   combined financial resources of a larger merger 
          6   enhance the opportunities for local community, but 
          7   it will also create innovative ways to meet even 
          8   additional needs in our most greatest communities of 
          9   need. 
         10            In closing, as you can continue to hear 
         11   testimony and collect information relating to the 
         12   merger, I ask that you seriously consider that this 
         13   unification of two highly-regarded banks is an 
         14   opportunity to not only create the strongest 
         15   financial institution in and for our region but a 
         16   means to create more community reinvestment 
         17   opportunities for our urban and rural communities.  
         18   Plainly speaking, the newly created Fleet Boston 
         19   will be able to increase its level of business and 
         20   charitable contributions throughout their northeast 
         21   market.  This is good for business.  This is good 
         22   for our community. 
         23            Thank you.
         24            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         25   much. 
          1            MR. POLLOCK:  Good evening.  My name is 
          2   Jeff Pollock.  I'm the president of the New 
          3   Hampshire Business Development Corporation, and I'm 
          4   here to offer my strong support for the merger of 
          5   Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston Corp.
          6            New Hampshire Business Development 
          7   Corporation exists to promote economic development 
          8   in the state by addressing underserved market 
          9   segments with financial services both directly and 
         10   in partnership with the banking community. 
         11            As evidenced and in light of our strong 
         12   commitment to the small business community, I'm very 
         13   pleased to note that the U.S. Small Business 
         14   Administration recently recognized us as the 
         15   Financial Services Advocate of the Year for 1999. 
         16            We have worked very closely with Fleet over 
         17   the years.  They have invested in three of our 
         18   partnerships which have helped us stimulate over 
         19   $125 million of investment capital with higher risk 
         20   lending in New Hampshire. 
         21            BankBoston is a later entrant to New 
         22   Hampshire and was very quick to participate, as did 
         23   Fleet, in our new venture capital fund in hopes of 
         24   supporting their more direct investment strategy by 
         25   partnering with us in this fund. 
          1            I'm in support of the merger because I see 
          2   synergy rather than redundancy in the combination of 
          3   these two institutions.  From the community 
          4   development perspective, it's quite exciting to 
          5   envision the potential of Fleet CDC's partnership 
          6   model in combination with BankBoston's direct 
          7   investment strategy. 
          8            On the flip side, I believe New England 
          9   will suffer a tremendous loss of community 
         10   commitment in the event that it doesn't mean home to 
         11   one of the banking leaders after the industry 
         12   consolidates.  To this end, I ask you to witness the 
         13   mayor of San Francisco threatening to remove City 
         14   funds BankAmerica after the headquarters moved to 
         15   Charlotte, North Carolina, and decisions became made 
         16   from there.
         17            In closing, I want to point out that it is 
         18   my good fortune to serve on the Fleet Inner City 
         19   Advisory Board in representation of New Hampshire's 
         20   interests.  In this regard, the bank -- I recognize 
         21   that the bank sees that the best interests of the 
         22   community are best served by helping its citizens to 
         23   create wealth.  Some people confuse this market 
         24   orientation with a lack of interest in community 
         25   affairs. 
          1            From my part, I share the view of renowned 
          2   Harvard professor Michael Porter that such an 
          3   approach to the market is the only sustainable means 
          4   of community support in a market-oriented economy.  
          5   This, in fact, is the philosophy with which we 
          6   approach our business in NHBDC.  I hope will you 
          7   give due weight to these factors. 
          8            Thank you.
          9            MR. CROWLEY:  Hi.  My name's David Crowley, 
         10   and I'm the executive director of a nonprofit called 
         11   Generations, Incorporated, that brings together 
         12   1,000 Boston area youth and seniors in 
         13   intergenerational programs each year. 
         14            I just want to say that at this time, when 
         15   government is shrinking its services, calling upon 
         16   nonprofits to do more in terms of human service and 
         17   education, and we have to turn to the private sector 
         18   increasingly to be able to deliver those vital 
         19   services, that Fleet has been a shining example of a 
         20   company that's really stepped up to the plate, not 
         21   just to provide charitable funding, which of course 
         22   we value and is critical to our work; but they 
         23   really role up their sleeves and work with 
         24   nonprofits like us to make sure that we can serve 
         25   the community effectively. 
          1            And over the past couple of years with 
          2   Fleet's help, we have been able to roll out new 
          3   programs that they have helped us with where senior 
          4   citizens have helped raise kids' reading scores by 
          5   an average of over three grade levels a year, and 
          6   also provide documented impact for seniors who are 
          7   isolated in nursing homes who we're able to serve 
          8   thanks to Fleet and touch their lives at the end of 
          9   their day. 
         10            I really just appreciate Fleet's attitude 
         11   of really seeing holistic partnerships with 
         12   nonprofits and with communities to make things a 
         13   better place.  And so I really feel it's critical 
         14   that we continue to have Fleet as a major player in 
         15   the Boston area to have that continue to happen. 
         16            Thanks. 
         17            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         18   much. 
         19            I understand our 30 minutes are up; 
         20   however, Mr. Herbie Flores is at the tail end of the 
         21   panel, so I hope you will bear with us, and if you 
         22   will do your one minute very quickly, each of you.
         23            MS. HABIBY:  My name is Anne Habiby.  I'm 
         24   the director of research at the Initiative for 
         25   Competitive Inner City.  ICIC is a national 
          1   not-for-profit organization established by Harvard 
          2   Business School professor Michael Porter. 
          3            One of the most important things clearly 
          4   that anyone can do for the inner city is provide 
          5   access to capital.  And as Walter Riskin says, 
          6   "Capital goes where it is invited and stays where it 
          7   is welcome." 
          8            BankBoston's Community Development Bank 
          9   under Chad Gifford and Gail Snowden's exemplary 
         10   leadership has proven that it is committed to this 
         11   premise.  In fact, ICIC has been outspoken in our 
         12   support of BankBoston's community bank model and 
         13   strong inner city franchise, and often cited to the 
         14   media as the preeminent community bank in the 
         15   country. 
         16            Over the past year, ICIC has chronicled the 
         17   competitive advantage of inner cities; and, in fact, 
         18   in a recent study we will release, in fact, this 
         19   week, shows that BankBoston and Fleet have been the 
         20   leaders in making SBA 7A loans to inner city 
         21   businesses. 
         22            In fact, in 1996, BankBoston led all banks 
         23   in Boston's inner city in inner city lending; and in 
         24   1997, if was Fleet.  Significantly, 7A lending 
         25   dramatically increased from 2 million to 7 million 
          1   in 1997 and in great part due to the lending 
          2   practices of BankBoston and Fleet. 
          3            We would urge both banks to sustain and 
          4   extend these lending practices, lending as much as 
          5   possible profitably.
          6            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          7   much.
          8            MR. CHAMPAGNE:  I would like to have an 
          9   interpreter, please. 
         10            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Interpreter from 
         11   what? 
         12            MR. CHAMPAGNE:  Hispanic. 
         13            UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER:  There was no 
         14   special request for an interpreter. 
         15            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Can we -- okay.  
         16   See, I knew there was a purpose to this. 
         17            MR. CHAMPAGNE (through Hierberto Flores):  
         18   My name is Jose Champagne, president of Sofri El 
         19   Coqui.  I'd like to thank you for the privilege of 
         20   being here to express to you the work that Fleet 
         21   Bank is doing in the Spanish community. 
         22            Everybody knows the Spanish community is 
         23   growing very fast.  And to the year 2010, 2015, the 
         24   Hispanic community will be the largest minority. 
         25            I would like to thank Fleet for making a 
          1   dream of mine come true.  For six years, we had a 
          2   project or factory.  In 1997, we were able to make 
          3   that a reality by Fleet Bank.  I would like you to 
          4   consider this kind of project for a Spanish 
          5   community.  It's a great potential in the Spanish 
          6   community, and we know that we can count on Fleet 
          7   Bank. 
          8            I would like to thank Fleet Development 
          9   Bank for all their support they have given us.  
         10   Thank you very much for the support. 
         11            MR. COMULADA:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         12   Fernando Comulada.  I'm vice-president for finance 
         13   and administration for InterAmerica Wholesalers.  
         14   It's a small distributor of Spanish products in 
         15   Waterbury, Connecticut.  And until recently, I was 
         16   also a financial advisor for Universal Financial 
         17   Services in Hartford, Connecticut. 
         18            I'm here today to express my support for 
         19   this merger of Fleet Bank and Bank of Boston.  
         20   During my tenure with the Universal Financial 
         21   Services, I was able to do business planning for 
         22   Hispanic local business in Hartford, Connecticut; 
         23   and I am pleased to say -- to report to you that of 
         24   six projects that we presented to Fleet Bank in the 
         25   last year and a half, all six -- to Bank of Boston, 
          1   all six were approved.  I think there is -- they 
          2   have shown a sensitivity and the need to the 
          3   community and to economic development in the 
          4   neighborhoods. 
          5            Even those these loans were not big 
          6   amounts, they were significant to the business 
          7   people that applied for them.  More significant, it 
          8   was a contribution that less than half a million 
          9   dollars in funds created over twenty jobs. 
         10            I want to encourage the Federal Reserve 
         11   Bank to approve this merger.  And I just caution -- 
         12   I would like to see that Fleet Bank and Bank of 
         13   Boston continue to give access of capital to 
         14   minorities and to small business, that they keep the 
         15   diversity among all ranks in the organization, and 
         16   to keep bicultural and bilingual lending officers.
         17            Thank you.
         18            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         19   much. 
         20            MR. FELLENZ:  Good evening.  I'm Peter 
         21   Fellenz, executive director of Worcester Community 
         22   Housing Resources.  We do lending, first-time home 
         23   buyer services, and property development.  Sometimes 
         24   small; sometimes larger.  It is all meant to put a 
         25   smile back on older neighborhoods that have good 
          1   enough history to deserve the revitalization, both 
          2   as individuals and as neighborhoods. 
          3            We work very well with the entire banking 
          4   community and are very proud with our relationship 
          5   with both Fleet and BankBoston.  That goes for local 
          6   staff in Worcester and central Mass., and also for 
          7   the number of corporate people.  Meeting yesterday 
          8   with corporate leadership included many people who 
          9   have walked our neighborhoods, in fact, made it 
         10   quite clear that their credit is available anytime 
         11   we can tee up the deals.  So let's go ahead. 
         12            I feel a little bit like I've been invited 
         13   to two people who have decided to get married, in 
         14   this case, two institutions.  I'm ready to be at the 
         15   wedding and say just stay active right here in the 
         16   middle of New England.  We need your combined 
         17   assets, both human and financial. 
         18            So I speak strongly in favor of the merger 
         19   as proposed. 
         20            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
         21            MR. FLORES:  My name is Hierberto Flores, 
         22   resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, Brightwood 
         23   Development Corporation, and also Planning for 
         24   Community.
         25            We have over 360 employees from Manchester, 
          1   New Hampshire, to Fairfield County, human services.  
          2   We have a lot of minorities that work for us in the 
          3   work force.  So, again, the two banks, Fleet and 
          4   Bank of Boston, I have done business with them, very 
          5   supportive to our organization, to our community.  
          6   I'm here to support this merger. 
          7            And, again, I would like to thank you for 
          8   the privilege of being able to be a member of your 
          9   Board, Federal Consumer Advisory Counsel, for the 
         10   past three years.  And, again, I think that the work 
         11   you are doing today here is one work that all of us 
         12   as citizens have to say thank you for the work that 
         13   you are doing and keep up the good work. 
         14            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         15   much. 
         16            HEARING OFFICER SMITH:  Panel 16.
         17            Mr. Cofield. 

Last update: December 3, 2010