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 0378 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 0379 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 0380 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 0381 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 0382 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 0383 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 0384 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 0385 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 0386 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 0387 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 0388 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 0389 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 0390 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 0391 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 0392 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. 0393 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 0394 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 0395 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 0396 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 0397 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 0398 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 0399 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 0400 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 0401 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. 0402 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. 0403 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. 0404 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. 0405 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 0406 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 0407 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 0408 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, 0409 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 0410 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, 0411 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