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 0259 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 0260 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. 0261 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 0262 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 0263 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 0264 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 0265 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 0266 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 0267 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. 0268 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 0269 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. 0270 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 0271 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. 0272 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 0273 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 0274 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 0275 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 0276 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. 0277 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. 0278 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 0279 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 0280 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 0281 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 0282 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 0283 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. 0284 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. 0285 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 0286 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