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Public Meeting Transcripts

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

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

Transcript of Panel Five

       21            REV. GOFF:  My name is Reverend Norvel 
         22   Goff, Sr., Pastor of Baber African Methodist 
         23   Episcopal Church and president of the Greater 
         24   Rochester NAACP and Chairman of the Black Ministers 
         25   Alliance.  I come here today to support the merger 
  0128
          1   of Fleet-BankBoston, and I'm doing it for a number 
          2   of reasons:  
          3            One, based on their commitment to Western 
          4   New York and other communities in that area. 
          5            Two, because of their commitment to 
          6   faith-based lending institutions, which is inclusive 
          7   of the church. 
          8            Three, the partnership that has been 
          9   developed by Fleet Bank as a leader not only in 
         10   Western New York but New York City and New Jersey 
         11   and other parts of the country, where they have been 
         12   very proactive in committing themselves to improving 
         13   the quality of life. 
         14            In addition to that, I would like to state 
         15   here for the record that Fleet Bank in Upstate New 
         16   York has been a leader in commitment to a program 
         17   that is called Footprints to Home Ownership, which 
         18   has allowed first-time homeowners to own their own 
         19   home and to promote seminars and to teach them the 
         20   value of owning a home and also to pay the mortgage. 
         21   I think the relationship as president of the Greater 
         22   Rochester NAACP, as we look at demographics of the 
         23   employment track record of Fleet Bank, it shows an 
         24   inclusive niche of all colors. 
         25            And finally, let me say this, that Fleet 
  0129
          1   Bank is not about just giving out money, but we have 
          2   developed a partnership, a partnership where the 
          3   black church comes with economic stability to 
          4   provide stability in our various communities.  And 
          5   for that reason, I come on behalf of more than 
          6   several thousand individuals who are participants in 
          7   our various organizations to say we support the 
          8   merger because we think it's good business, good 
          9   business not only for the churches but good business 
         10   for the community in which Fleet Bank finds itself. 
         11            Thank you so much, and I thank my 
         12   colleagues for letting me cut in line, because I 
         13   have a one o'clock flight.  Thank you so much.  
         14   (Applause)
         15            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Our panelists on 
         16   this panel have about one minute, which isn't a very 
         17   long time, but we welcome you.
         18            MS. STROM:  Thank you.  My name is Margo 
         19   Strom, I am the executive director of Facing History 
         20   and Ourselves, a national nonprofit educational 
         21   organization. 
         22            As you well know, individuals and groups 
         23   and corporations and communities develop character, 
         24   they have identities, and they are defined by the 
         25   choices they make.  These choices shape our 
  0130
          1   democratic space.  The democratic activity that lies 
          2   somewhere between government and business is the 
          3   independent sector, it is the home for nonprofits, 
          4   and it is that that I represent. 
          5            It is also the arena where people volunteer 
          6   and associate, they practice the First Amendment, 
          7   and it is the avenue for advocacy and outrage, as 
          8   you have seen here today.  It is where we educate 
          9   people to be democratic to others.  We teach about 
         10   this sector.  It focuses on the choices individuals 
         11   and groups make in history either to promote social 
         12   justice and tolerance in inclusive democratic 
         13   societies or to destroy them. 
         14            For 20 years we have been reaching students 
         15   across this country, now reaching annually a 
         16   million.  The corporate philanthropy of both 
         17   BankBoston and Fleet Bank represents a deep 
         18   commitment to the nonprofit sector.  We have not 
         19   only been a beneficiary of their leadership but 
         20   witness to the extraordinary impact of their 
         21   stewardship and investment that has been paid off in 
         22   the health and vitality and education of the New 
         23   England community. 
         24            They lend not only financial backing but 
         25   time and advice to help leverage their investments.  
  0131
          1   Their support lends credibility, because their 
          2   reputation as caring corporate partners for 
          3   nonprofits has become legendary.  Our future depends 
          4   on the commitment the corporate community has to the 
          5   partnerships with nonprofits. 
          6            Thank you for this opportunity. 
          7            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.  
          8   (Applause).
          9            MS. KORMAN:  My same is Nancy Korman, and I 
         10   chair the Massachusetts Service Alliance.  This year 
         11   we distributed $13 million, $8 million from the 
         12   federal government and $5 million from the state 
         13   government.  However, we do not operate on 
         14   government funds alone.  We are required by law to 
         15   develop partnerships with the corporate community.  
         16   In other words, our success depends upon raising a 
         17   percentage of matching dollars. 
         18            So I have gone knocking on the doors of 
         19   both banks, and if only other corporations were as 
         20   generous and responsive as both BankBoston and Fleet 
         21   Bank have been.  The money that we raise goes to 
         22   programs such as Americorps, Youth Build, Jump 
         23   Start, City Year, ROCA.  These are the programs 
         24   which are the obvious antidote to Littleton, 
         25   Colorado, to alienated youth, to people who are not 
  0132
          1   on teams.  These programs put kids on teams helping 
          2   other kids. 
          3            We as an organization are committed to 
          4   community and the ethic of community service, and we 
          5   have always had equal and generous help from 
          6   BankBoston and Fleet.  After Colin Powell's 
          7   Presidential Summit, the two banks equally funded 
          8   the Massachusetts Summit.  This summit helped the 
          9   Alliance focus attention on the value of community 
         10   service, particularly as impacts on our youth.  I am 
         11   confident that in the future both banks will not 
         12   just strengthen their visibility and their financial 
         13   capabilities but will strengthen their commitment to 
         14   the entire community.  Thank you.  (Applause)
         15            MS. GUILDERSON:  Good morning.  My name is  
         16   Tandeka Guilderson.  I'm the director of the Center 
         17   for Women and Enterprise, Boston office.  I am 
         18   speaking on behalf of Andrea Silbert, the founder 
         19   and chief executive officer of the Center for Women 
         20   and Enterprise who has acute laryngitis. 
         21            The center is a regional nonprofit economic 
         22   development agency which provides education, 
         23   training, technical assistance, and access to debt 
         24   and equity capital to women business owners.  The 
         25   Center For Women and Enterprise is the only women's 
  0133
          1   business development center in the State of 
          2   Massachusetts.  We provide our assistance to women 
          3   from all socioeconomic backgrounds in all stages of 
          4   business development spanning the range of women 
          5   transitioning from public assistance to women who 
          6   are launching and growing high-tech ventures. 
          7            We have been very fortunate to have been 
          8   supported since our founding in 1995 by BankBoston 
          9   and one year later by Fleet.  BankBoston provided 
         10   CWE with a three-year $150,000 seed grant in 1995 to 
         11   open our doors.  They have since increased that 
         12   amount to $75,000 per year to include our Worcester 
         13   office.  In addition, last year at the BankBoston 
         14   Charitable Trust through their new economic 
         15   development initiative provided us with a three-year 
         16   grant of $225,000 to develop a special program 
         17   targeting very low-income women living in Boston's 
         18   inner city environments. 
         19            Finally, BankBoston launched their own 
         20   initiative, the Women Entrepreneurs Connection, to 
         21   serve as a very important and often neglected 
         22   market. 
         23            Fleet has also been a good partner to CWE.  
         24   Two years ago CWE found a gap in the market 
         25   assisting women to access equity capital to launch 
  0134
          1   and expand high growth businesses.  Fleet provided 
          2   us with $50,000 to conduct the research on this 
          3   initiative and then launched the CWE Venture Center 
          4   at a conference held right here at the Federal 
          5   Reserve Bank in November of 1998. 
          6            Since then Fleet has committed another 
          7   $100,000 to the CWE center.  Fleet and BankBoston 
          8   have shown true interest in the women-owned business 
          9   market, they have committed to continuing and 
         10   expanding the Women Entrepreneurs Connection and 
         11   working with WEC to develop more programs and 
         12   products to assist this market.  In particular, we 
         13   are eager to work with them to increase seed equity 
         14   capital and nonconventional loans to women-owned 
         15   businesses. 
         16            It is critical that we keep a super bank 
         17   headquartered in Boston and look forward to working 
         18   with Fleet Boston to see that the needs of the 
         19   community are met once these banks merge.  Thank you 
         20   for your time.  (Applause)
         21            MS. DECEATIS:  I am Deborah Deceatis, I am 
         22   the associate director for Patriots Trail Girl 
         23   Scouts.  Patriots Trail Girl Scouts supports the 
         24   merger of Fleet Bank and BankBoston.  The Girl 
         25   Scouts, who have 65 cities and towns which provide 
  0135
          1   the jurisdiction served by Patriots Trail and serve 
          2   over 30,000 girls yearly with the help of 10,000 
          3   adult volunteers, benefit from a variety of support, 
          4   resources, and funding provided by both Fleet and 
          5   BankBoston. 
          6            Just to mention a few, collaboration and 
          7   development of a Financial Literacy Program for 
          8   young girls five years old to 18, to investigate 
          9   money issues, including savings, investment, loans, 
         10   and basic money management, as well as career 
         11   exploration in the financial world.  We call that 
         12   program Smart About Money. 
         13            Employees of Fleet and BankBoston have been 
         14   encouraged to provide community service as 
         15   volunteers.  The employees serve on our board of 
         16   directors, finance, and fund development committees, 
         17   as well as working directly as positive role models 
         18   to girls serving as troop leaders, trainers, program 
         19   support, and our ever-popular community care days of 
         20   service. 
         21            Fleet has supported our efforts to 
         22   recognize achievements and accomplishments of Boston 
         23   women who serve as positive role models for the 
         24   youth of our communities.  In addition, they have 
         25   served as advocates for girls and youth in the 
  0136
          1   neighborhoods through an ongoing partnership to make 
          2   it possible for girls whose families may not be able 
          3   to afford summer camp, to make it possible for those 
          4   girls to attend one of our day or resident camps by 
          5   funding camper shifts.  Funding from Fleet has 
          6   helped to promote our Girls Eye View Program where 
          7   girls throughout New England were provided with 
          8   tools to express their view and perspective on the 
          9   world, their community, or the neighborhood, through 
         10   photography, poetry, and writing of stories.  
         11   Currently a traveling exhibit is on view throughout 
         12   New England. 
         13            Lastly, but very significantly, there has 
         14   been a strong commitment from Fleet to our 
         15   communities to support our 2500 Girl Scout troops by 
         16   accessing free banking services so that the funds 
         17   earned by these young girls are safeguarded in 
         18   checking accounts. 
         19            We have a strong partnership with Fleet and 
         20   BankBoston, and we look forward to the merger as 
         21   expanding new services, resources, and opportunities 
         22   for the youth in our communities that we serve.  
         23   Thank you.  (Applause)
         24            MR. WILLIAMS:  Good morning.  My name is 
         25   Greg Williams, I'm the president and owner of GW 
  0137
          1   Enterprises, Inc., which is an information 
          2   technology consulting firm.  And I am also the 
          3   president of the Mercer County Business Association, 
          4   which is a not-for-profit organization of more than 
          5   200 small and minority-owned businesses.  We are an 
          6   advocacy group representing the interests of small 
          7   businesses and their owners in Mercer County and 
          8   throughout the State of New Jersey. 
          9            I'm here this morning to speak in favor of 
         10   the proposed merger of Fleet Bank and BankBoston.  
         11   The Mercer County Business Association has worked 
         12   very hard to make sure that small, women, and 
         13   minority-owned businesses are afforded the same 
         14   opportunities to grow and develop as larger 
         15   majority-owned businesses in the State of New Jersey 
         16   and in the country. 
         17            We have found a ready partner towards 
         18   meeting that objective in Fleet Bank, particularly 
         19   since Joyce Harley has become the head of the New 
         20   Jersey Community Development Group.  Fleet and Ms. 
         21   Harley have shown by word and deed that there is a 
         22   real commitment to financing and supporting small 
         23   business in New Jersey.  Fleet has exceeded that 
         24   commitment, the commitment it made when it entered 
         25   the state through its acquisition of NatWest Bank 
  0138
          1   three years ago to put over $200 million in small 
          2   business loans on the books. 
          3            The Mercer County Business Association 
          4   meets with Ms. Harley and her staff on a regular 
          5   basis to monitor the commitment, and we are pleased 
          6   with the results.  The goal has been exceeded by 
          7   more than 73 percent to date.  Fleet has 
          8   particularly reached out to small, women, and 
          9   minority-owned businesses in our urban and poor 
         10   areas, offering training seminars on how to borrow 
         11   money and how to write business plans that, in Ms. 
         12   Harley's own words, tell our story so that bankers 
         13   understand. 
         14            Fleet has been the leading bank in forming 
         15   a partnership with the state's Entrepreneurial 
         16   Training Institute.  That institute is a project of 
         17   the New Jersey Development Authority of which I am a 
         18   board member.  Of the 10 classes offered statewide, 
         19   six were staffed by Fleet Bankers, including the 
         20   entire community development staff.  Fleet has 
         21   worked with the Mercer County Business Association 
         22   to offer small businesses an opportunity to do 
         23   business with Fleet and other large businesses in 
         24   the state, many of whom are Fleet commercial 
         25   customers. 
  0139
          1            In conclusion, the Mercer County Business 
          2   Association supports this merger because we are well 
          3   aware of BankBoston's fine reputation.  We believe 
          4   that their commitment, combined with Fleet's 
          5   actions, will serve the interests of the small and 
          6   minority business community in the State of New 
          7   Jersey even better than it's being served today.  
          8   Thank you.  (Applause)
          9            MS. RESNEY:  Good morning.  I'm Romney 
         10   Resney, director of Mass Insight Education and 
         11   Research Institute.  Since 1989 Mass Insight has 
         12   worked in developing initiatives to create a strong 
         13   and competitive Massachusetts economy for all  
         14   Massachusetts citizens.  More recently, Mass Insight 
         15   Education is working with 47 school districts, 
         16   public school districts throughout Massachusetts on 
         17   raising student achievement. 
         18            It's crucial for Massachusetts community 
         19   groups like Mass Insight to have a strong nationally 
         20   competitive local bank based in New England.  I 
         21   could, like many of my peers here, discuss the many 
         22   contributions BankBoston has made to our efforts, 
         23   but I'd like to spend some time discussing the 
         24   alternatives to the merger. 
         25            Current banking industry trends and recent 
  0140
          1   experience show that it's unrealistic for Fleet and 
          2   BankBoston to remain independent and nationally 
          3   competitive locally based banks.  We need these 
          4   banks in this community.  Banks nationwide are 
          5   facing a rapidly changing competitive environment.  
          6   They're facing the threat of national consolidation.  
          7   We see this all across the country with different 
          8   bank mergers, facing industry convergence where 
          9   nontraditional banking institutions are moving into 
         10   the banking sector.  We're also seeing the threat of 
         11   e-banking and e-commerce which is rapidly increasing 
         12   the speed with which all of this is taking place and 
         13   also reducing some of the implications for the local 
         14   branch office. 
         15            Fleet and BankBoston are facing these 
         16   competitive threats, and I honestly believe they can 
         17   face them stronger together.  In the new banking 
         18   environment there are basically three options on the 
         19   table as I see it: 
         20            First, Fleet-BankBoston remain independent 
         21   and one or both are bought by a large, outside bank.  
         22   This takes away from the resources available to 
         23   community groups like ours. 
         24            Second, Fleet and BankBoston remain 
         25   independent, and if by some small chance they are 
  0141
          1   not bought by an outside bank, they'll lose market 
          2   share to new entrants, national players, and some of 
          3   these other industry players who are moving into the 
          4   banking sector. 
          5            And third, and I believe the best of all 
          6   options, is the Fleet-BankBoston merger will create 
          7   a nationally competitive, locally based bank that 
          8   will continue to invest in the strength of the New 
          9   England economy.  We at Mass Insight support this 
         10   third option and believe in the long-term interest 
         11   of Massachusetts community groups.  Thank you.  
         12   (Applause)
         13            MR. LORD:  For the record my name is 
         14   Richard Lord, I'm executive vice president of 
         15   Legislative Policy for Associated Industries of 
         16   Massachusetts.  Associated Industries is the 
         17   Commonwealth's principal statewide employer 
         18   organization representing 5300 businesses and 
         19   nonprofit entities across Massachusetts engaged in 
         20   virtually every economic sector. 
         21            This merger represents an important, 
         22   positive step to assure that Massachusetts and New 
         23   England businesses will benefit from a banking 
         24   system that offers both  stable financial resources 
         25   and the increasingly sophisticated banking services 
  0142
          1   that are essential to success of the modern economy. 
          2            In the first years of this decade when the 
          3   New England banking system was in turmoil, AIM and a 
          4   number of member companies consistently reported 
          5   serious difficulties in obtaining bank loans.  We 
          6   have heard few, if any, such reports of such lack of 
          7   access to capital for more than five years now.  
          8   BankBoston and Fleet have been the leaders, along 
          9   with a group of outstanding community banks, not 
         10   only in restoring the financial stability of our 
         11   regional banking system but also in re-establishing 
         12   and greatly extending the range of banking services 
         13   available to local companies.  The proposed merger 
         14   is vital because it will safeguard those gains. 
         15            Thank you for the opportunity to testify.  
         16   (Applause)
         17            MS. JONES:  Thank you.  My name is Martha 
         18   Jones, and I'm the executive director of the 
         19   BankBoston Celebrity Series.  The Celebrity Series 
         20   is New England's premier performing arts presenting 
         21   organization who for the past 10 years has enjoyed a 
         22   fruitful partnership with BankBoston; BankBoston, of 
         23   course, which is regarded throughout New England as 
         24   the premier corporate philanthropist of cultural 
         25   organizations. 
  0143
          1            Since 1989, BankBoston has been the 
          2   Celebrity Series title sponsor and has been 
          3   steadfast in its commitment to our growth and 
          4   independence as a non-for-profit organization.  Of 
          5   significance, the Bank's sponsorship has provided 
          6   the resources necessary to enhance our education and 
          7   community service program Project Discovery, which 
          8   this past season served more than 23,000 young 
          9   people in the Greater Boston vicinity through master 
         10   classes, workshops in the schools, performance 
         11   tickets at little or no cost, to over 40 
         12   performances at Symphony Hall, the Wang Center, 
         13   Shubert Theater, all of this as a result of 
         14   BankBoston's continued ongoing sponsorship. 
         15            I am here today to speak in support of the 
         16   merger between BankBoston Corporation and Fleet 
         17   Financial Group.  Both institutions have made public 
         18   their intentions to continue to support community 
         19   cultural and healthcare charitable organizations at 
         20   or above current individual levels of support.  I 
         21   believe this to be an honorable and true statement.  
         22   Through a previous merger with BayBanks, BankBoston 
         23   continued its high level of charitable giving and  
         24   in fact increased their support, not only of the 
         25   Celebrity Series but of other organizations.  
  0144
          1            BankBoston and Fleet Financial Group are 
          2   already woven into the fabric of Boston's cultural 
          3   community, and with a new banking entity based here 
          4   in Boston, I would look forward and expect their 
          5   charitable commitments to play an even greater role 
          6   in strengthening that fabric.  The Celebrity Series 
          7   is pleased to move into the next millennium with 
          8   this new Fleet-BankBoston Corporation.  Thank you 
          9   for your time.  (Applause)
         10            MR. BESSIRE:  Good afternoon, I'm Paul 
         11   Bessire from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  I am 
         12   also pleased to testify on behalf of the museum in 
         13   support of the merger of Fleet Financial Group and 
         14   BankBoston.  Fleet and BankBoston are close partners 
         15   of the MFA, as well as long-time and generous 
         16   supporters.  On an annual basis both companies have 
         17   led the MFA's Corporate Partners Program by giving 
         18   at its highest levels for many years, enabling the 
         19   MFA to enhance its role as a community resource.   
         20   Important senior executives from both banks are 
         21   involved with the MFA in a significant capacity as 
         22   overseers, volunteers, and patrons.  In the past 
         23   several years Fleet and BankBoston have made several 
         24   major acquisitions possible at the MFA.  In addition 
         25   to enriching the city's cultural life, these 
  0145
          1   exhibitions generate significant economic activity 
          2   in the region by attracting large numbers of 
          3   visitors. 
          4            For example, during Monet, The 20th Century 
          5   sponsored by Fleet, more than 40 percent of the 
          6   560,000 visitors came from outside of Boston 
          7   providing an economic impact of over $34 million.  
          8   We were also particularly impressed by Fleet's 
          9   commitment to making Monet accessible to children 
         10   and seniors by creating extensive education 
         11   materials and by providing over 8,000 free tickets 
         12   to community groups. 
         13            BankBoston is also currently sponsoring the 
         14   John Singer Sargent at the MFA.  This is the third 
         15   major exhibition sponsored by BankBoston in the last 
         16   four years.  We have also been impressed by their 
         17   leadership in creating the groundbreaking program 
         18   Museums On Us, an innovative program featuring 21 
         19   New England museums.  Given these track records, we 
         20   have full confidence that the new Fleet-Boston will 
         21   continue to be a good neighborhood and strong 
         22   supporter of Boston's museums and cultural 
         23   organizations.  Thank you.  (Applause)
         24            PASTOR GILLISON:  Good morning.  My name is 
         25   William Gillison, I'm pastor of the Mt. Olive 
  0146
          1   Baptist Church. 
          2            My relationship with Fleet Bank began 
          3   approximately 19 years ago when one of their branch 
          4   managers Mr. Roger Richardson and I served on a 
          5   community board together.  At that time we shared 
          6   with him that Mt. Olive was experiencing growing 
          7   pains, and we were looking for a bank that would 
          8   assist us in seeing that our vision would come to 
          9   fruition.  Even though we had no banking 
         10   relationship with Fleet Bank at the time, Fleet was 
         11   the bank that responded first to our business 
         12   proposal.  And at that time no other lending 
         13   institution would even speak with us. 
         14            Fleet's bank managers -- Fleet assigned a 
         15   vice president to our particular plan, and we are 
         16   glad to say that Fleet was the first in our area to 
         17   lend any African-American bank over a million -- a 
         18   church, that is, over a million and a half dollars 
         19   based upon a fair look at our business plan and our 
         20   record.  We do believe we stand today to ask this  
         21   commission if they would grant Fleet this 
         22   opportunity to continue expressing this type of 
         23   leadership in the industry.  (Applause)
         24            MR. PARROTT:  I'm Charles Parrott, I'm vice 
         25   chairman of the YMCA of Greater Boston.  The YMCA of 
  0147
          1   Greater Boston is the largest childcare provider in 
          2   the Greater Boston area.  It has a number of other 
          3   programs for inner city children.  Those programs 
          4   could not exist without the support of corporate 
          5   Boston.  Over the years BankBoston has been a 
          6   substantial contributor, it goes back as far as the 
          7   YMCA does, and that's almost 150 years. In recent 
          8   years Fleet has become a substantial contributor to 
          9   the programs of the YMCA. 
         10            It is our hope that should this merger go 
         11   through, that the combined bank will be able to 
         12   continue that support.  We have every reason to 
         13   believe that it will through what we read in the 
         14   press.  I thank you for this opportunity.
         15            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
         16            MS. SCOTT:  My name is Ruth Scott and I'm 
         17   president and CEO of Scott Consulting Associates.  I 
         18   come to this question from an interesting 
         19   perspective, a broad-based one.  I started out in 
         20   the '70s as the president of an organization that 
         21   did the initial research on the redline issue, and 
         22   then over the years I've been involved with Fleet 
         23   and with other banking institutions across the 
         24   country, as well as neighborhood Reinvestment 
         25   Corporation and neighborhood groups in trying to 
  0148
          1   figure out how these organizations could speak 
          2   effectively with each other and form collaborations 
          3   that work. 
          4            I come in favor of the merger between Fleet 
          5   and BankBoston because I see things there that make 
          6   me understand that they know what it's all about and 
          7   they will do the thing that is right in terms of 
          8   these partnerships and community development.  I 
          9   want to just give an example of a leveraging that 
         10   Fleet often does in its marketplace. 
         11            I was involved with a community development 
         12   organization, a faith- based organization, three 
         13   years ago which wanted to build a complex as the 
         14   first African-American organization in Rochester, 
         15   New York, to do such a thing.  We went to Fleet and 
         16   asked them for $5,000 originally as seed money to 
         17   establish a corporation, and they gave us that.  
         18   That commitment grew over time to $100,000.  It 
         19   wasn't just that, though.  That commitment grew in 
         20   addition to a $500,000 commitment for building, and 
         21   it grew in addition with other organizations giving 
         22   over $500,000 to the organization and HUD giving a 
         23   $3 1/2 million grant.  It is that kind of leveraging 
         24   that Fleet understands as we go into the 21st 
         25   century. 
  0149
          1            As I have looked at banks across the 
          2   country, what I have found is these kind of mergers 
          3   work when you have three things:  a solid and an 
          4   active commitment to community building; a mission 
          5   engaged in understanding of a changing landscape and 
          6   its imperative to merge and collaborate with 
          7   like-minded corporations; and a solid organizational 
          8   profit base which allows for the keeping of those 
          9   commitments.  I believe that this merger would give 
         10   all of those things. 
         11            There is a saying that "When certain people 
         12   whisper, everybody listens."  I think that's true in 
         13   our communities.  As Fleet has grown stronger, when 
         14   it whispers, other corporations and governments also 
         15   listen.  And in addition, when the community speaks, 
         16   Fleet listens.  And I believe that the 
         17   Fleet-BankBoston merger will continue to do that.  
         18   Thank you.
         19            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         20   much.  (Applause)
         21            MR. CUENCA:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
         22   Peter Cuenca, I'm the president of CuencaVision, 
         23   WCA-T.V., it's a Spanish television station.  I am 
         24   also the editor and the publisher of the newspaper 
         25   Las Manos, which is a weekly Spanish newspaper in 
  0150
          1   the New England area. 
          2            I am here to tell you about my experience 
          3   with Fleet Bank.  I was in need of financial 
          4   assistance of a loan from the bank, and I went to 
          5   them, to the community development department, and I 
          6   found there people that would listen to me.  They 
          7   did help me, they gave me a loan, and thanks to them 
          8   I am able to have new equipment, to expand our 
          9   services to the community. 
         10            And I find that they have a corporate 
         11   responsibility, that they have listened to many 
         12   people like me in the community, they are committed 
         13   for the future to do that, and if that is the case, 
         14   based on my experience, obviously this merger is a 
         15   good thing for our community.  It's important to 
         16   face the fact that our global economy today, there 
         17   is a need for a strong financial institutions. 
         18            And based on that, we also have to think in 
         19   terms there is enough turning the forces around to 
         20   keep them with the proper commitment to our 
         21   communities.  Banks are not only local banks now, 
         22   they are national banks, they are international 
         23   banks.  And those commercial or competitive forces 
         24   will be strong enough, I believe, to maintain a good 
         25   relationship between the community and the banking 
  0151
          1   system.  Thank you. 
          2            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.  
          3   (Applause)
          4            MS. DOWNIE:  I'm Lyndia Downie, I'm the 
          5   Acting President of the Pine Street Inn.  We're an 
          6   agency that provides shelter, job training, and 
          7   affordable housing to homeless individuals and most 
          8   recently homeless families.  And I too am here to 
          9   support the merger of Fleet and BankBoston.
         10            Fleet has been a strong, responsive, and 
         11   good corporate citizen.  They have been supporting 
         12   the Inn's work for many, many years since they have 
         13   been in Boston.  Last year they helped us put an 
         14   outreach van on the street that provides 
         15   transportation, blankets, and referrals to homeless 
         16   people living on the street.  In previous years they 
         17   helped us start a program for homeless elderly woman 
         18   focused on finding them housing. 
         19            We have been developing affordable housing 
         20   for over 10 years, and Fleet has consistently 
         21   offered support, both corporate support and lending 
         22   support, for those affordable housing projects.  And 
         23   they have been very responsive to all the issues 
         24   around homelessness.  In fact, last winter when a 
         25   number of people died on the street, Fleet was the 
  0152
          1   first to call and say, "Is there anything we can do 
          2   to help?"  We hope that they will continue this and 
          3   have every expectation they will continue to be good 
          4   and strong corporate citizens and they will continue 
          5   to be in support of homeless issues.  Thank you.  
          6   (Applause)
          7            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          8   much.
          9            MS. RODGERSON:  Hi.  My name is Susan 
         10   Rodgerson, and I'm the founder and director of 
         11   Artists for Humanity, which is a grass-roots 
         12   organization here in Boston that serves urban teens 
         13   in an after-school program. 
         14            Fleet and BankBoston both have been very 
         15   supportive from the corporate philanthropy 
         16   departments of their institutions.  But more 
         17   importantly, we provide products and services for 
         18   the business community that are performed by teens, 
         19   and Fleet Bank has hired us very often to do jobs 
         20   that are professional and performed by teenagers. 
         21            And I really believe that their commitment 
         22   to the inner city through working with youth is an 
         23   important one, and I also think that this is a great 
         24   opportunity for two strong institutions that are 
         25   local, that have been here for a long time, to merge 
  0153
          1   and to increase their level of support and 
          2   commitment through their shared history in Boston.  
          3   So I support the merger and hope that they will 
          4   maximize this opportunity for both of them to 
          5   succeed.  Thank you. 
          6            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          7   much. 
          8            MR. REGAN:  My name is Bob Regan, and I'm 
          9   president and CEO of New England College of Finance.  
         10   New England College of Finance is a unique 
         11   educational resource founded in Boston in 1909.  
         12   This organization has evolved into an accredited, 
         13   degree-granting college, the only banking institute 
         14   in America ever to achieve full collegiate status 
         15   with 250-member institutions and annual enrollments 
         16   in excess of 7500, this is a very important resource 
         17   to our financial industry. 
         18            Fleet Financial Group is a member of the 
         19   college and is the highest participating bank in our 
         20   programs.  It is extremely generous in encouraging 
         21   its employees to pursue their education.  This 
         22   generosity is especially important to lower-paid 
         23   employees and to minorities, the latter population 
         24   comprising nearly 40 percent of our total annual 
         25   enrollments.  Fleet also provides the college with 
  0154
          1   extraordinary support in the form of governance and 
          2   faculty leadership and free use of classroom space 
          3   at several of their locations throughout New 
          4   England. 
          5            Simply put, without the support of Fleet 
          6   Financial Group, the financial services industry in 
          7   this area would have great difficulty sustaining 
          8   this important educational resource and many 
          9   individuals would be denied access to a college 
         10   education. 
         11            In addition to its dominant role in the 
         12   college, Fleet is a founding member of the Financial 
         13   Services Academy, a newly created service of the 
         14   college, working with CBOs like Urban League, ABCD, 
         15   and Stride, the mission of the academy is to recruit 
         16   and train diverse inner city populations for 
         17   entry-level jobs in the industry.  During the first 
         18   three months of operation the academy has trained 77 
         19   individuals, many of whom have already been placed 
         20   in good-paying jobs.  Of these graduates, more than 
         21   90 percent are ethnic minorities and recent 
         22   immigrants and 75 percent identified English as 
         23   their second language. 
         24            In short, I personal cannot say enough good 
         25   things about Fleet Financial Group.  As 
  0155
          1   consolidation creates ever-larger banking 
          2   institutions, I believe we are very fortunate in New 
          3   England that a responsible powerhouse is being 
          4   formed.  Thank you.
          5            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you. 
          6            MS. DURADO:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
          7   Rosa Minayo Durado, I am here as a board member of 
          8   the Latino Professional Network.  Latino 
          9   Professional Network is an organization that links 
         10   Boston's Latino professionals with employment and 
         11   business opportunities. 
         12            The Latino Professional Network is here to 
         13   support the merger with Fleet for many reasons.  One 
         14   of them is that Fleet has followed and continues to 
         15   support the mission of the Latino Professional 
         16   Network, which is to give access information and 
         17   business opportunity to the Latino professionals.  
         18   Fleet has given to individuals and also to different 
         19   businesses credit opportunity.  It has helped 
         20   technical assistance to some of the small Latino 
         21   businesses, and also the Community Development Group 
         22   of the Fleet works very closely with many of the 
         23   members that run nonprofit agencies. 
         24            So as a board member of the LPN, I would 
         25   like to support the Fleet merger.  Thank you.  
  0156
          1   (Applause)
          2            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          3   much. 
          4            MR. SWANN:  My name is Lynn Swann, and I 
          5   come to this by way of being a member of the Fleet 
          6   In-City Advisory Board.  We make suggestions and 
          7   comments and discussions, debates on Fleet's policy 
          8   to low- to moderate-income families and mortgages, 
          9   small business loans, existing loans, loans to 
         10   existing businesses, so that they can serve the 
         11   community, even as far as small farm equipment for 
         12   Fleet. 
         13            But I really come here because I've been a 
         14   volunteer for more than 19 years, starting with Big 
         15   Brothers and Big Sisters of America as a board 
         16   member, as a national board president and chair of a 
         17   national capital campaign.  And it's this area I'd 
         18   like to talk to you about in terms of Fleet's 
         19   involvement with the community. 
         20            In 1998, there were 17,000 employees who 
         21   were volunteers in the Fleet program.  95,000 
         22   volunteer hours in 1998 alone.  These were made 
         23   possible because Fleet's policy is to give their 
         24   employees two days off with pay to volunteer in the 
         25   community.  That translated into 39,000 kids 
  0157
          1   participating in 450 community projects.  Since 
          2   1996, 82,000 children and young adults have been 
          3   involved in over 1,000 community service projects 
          4   and more than $850,000 awarded to winning teams in 
          5   the Fleet All Star Program. 
          6            You don't have those kinds of programs 
          7   unless you're committed to a program, unless you're 
          8   committed to building a community, because these 
          9   aren't your traditional people who are banking in 
         10   your institute, these are people who are going to be 
         11   making deposits somewhere down the road.  And if 
         12   you're committed to the community, these are the 
         13   kinds of involvements you have.  Fleet has created 
         14   20 tutorial centers, their commitment is to have 25 
         15   by the year 2000 throughout the Northeast, and 
         16   mentoring is an important component in growing a 
         17   community and building that infrastructure.  If you 
         18   don't think so, let me just give you a couple of 
         19   quick numbers. 
         20            Through Big brothers and Big Sisters, here 
         21   is what mentoring has done:  52 percent, in a 
         22   scientific study, 52 percent of the kids in a 
         23   mentoring relationship are less likely to skip 
         24   school, 46 percent are less likely to use drugs, 27 
         25   percent are less likely to use alcohol, 33 percent 
  0158
          1   are less likely to use physical force to resolve 
          2   conflicts.  As the woman who testified earlier about 
          3   programs at Fleet through ACORN having saved her 
          4   family's life, this is the kind of involvement that 
          5   builds the infrastructure of a community, where 
          6   young people grow, feel safe, and can be productive 
          7   citizens.
          8            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
          9   much.  (Applause) 
         10            MR. JONES:  My name is Tripp Jones, and I'm 
         11   the cofounder and executive director of The 
         12   Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, also 
         13   known as MassInc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan public 
         14   policy think-tank based here in Boston.  MassInc. 
         15   was established four years ago to develop public 
         16   policy approaches that result in a flourishing 
         17   middle class in Massachusetts. 
         18            I will refrain from elaborating more on 
         19   MassInc., but I do want to use this opportunity to 
         20   testify that the encouragement and support we have 
         21   received from BankBoston and Fleet made an enormous 
         22   contribution to our success.  I have witnessed first 
         23   hand the determination of both institutions, not 
         24   only to provide vital financial support to community 
         25   organizations like MassInc. but to develop strong 
  0159
          1   give-and-take dialogues with local groups borne out 
          2   of sheer commitment to the civic life of our 
          3   Commonwealth. 
          4            At a time when many corporations are 
          5   myopically devoted to bottom-line considerations, 
          6   these two institutions have shown the kind of 
          7   leadership, a willingness to take risks, like 
          8   supporting a small, start-up think-tank, that puts 
          9   them in the front rank of our very best corporate 
         10   citizens in Massachusetts. 
         11            The economic vitality of our state as a 
         12   whole, and to some degree the vitality of our 
         13   community organizations like MassInc., depend on the 
         14   ability of our banking industry to retain its 
         15   independence in the midst of extremely competitive 
         16   national and international pressures to the extent 
         17   that Fleet and BankBoston have found common ground 
         18   in a way to sustain that gain, I support their 
         19   efforts. 
         20            It is often argued that as the Internet and 
         21   other technologies continue to shrink the world in 
         22   which we live, circumstances of geography and place 
         23   are less important in our lives.  Today I want to 
         24   argue that the opposite is often true.  Geography 
         25   matters.  In this case it matters a great deal that 
  0160
          1   the banking decisions affecting the lives of New 
          2   Englanders be made by New Englanders whenever 
          3   possible.  It's not to say that regional industries 
          4   don't have to operate within larger economic 
          5   realities, but it does suggest that we should jump 
          6   at opportunities to bolster our regional economic 
          7   independence and to secure our long-term health. 
          8            I want to applaud the holding of this 
          9   public hearing ensuring that the Fleet-BankBoston 
         10   merger results in equally shared benefits for 
         11   shareholders, customers, and all citizens who 
         12   require a great deal of judgment, compromise, and 
         13   trust building among all parties involved, and I am 
         14   pleased to have had the opportunity to participate.
         15            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         16   much. 
         17            MR BROWN:  My name is Michael Brown, I'm 
         18   the president and cofounder of the City Year 
         19   organization, a national service organization 
         20   founded in Boston that engages over 1,000 young 
         21   adults ages 17 to 24 in the area of full-time 
         22   community service.  I appreciate this opportunity to 
         23   testify on behalf of City Year on behalf of the 
         24   proposed merger between BankBoston and Fleet 
         25   Financial Group. 
  0161
          1            We know from direct experience that it is 
          2   critically important for Massachusetts to remain a 
          3   headquarters for a major national financial 
          4   institution.  Indeed, were it not for BankBoston  
          5   and the active leadership of Chad Gifford and Ira 
          6   Jackson, City Year would not exist today.  10 years 
          7   ago when City Year was no more than words on paper, 
          8   BankBoston stepped forward and provided the seed 
          9   capital for our launch.  And along with that initial 
         10   funding came an extraordinary commitment to the 
         11   young people of Greater Boston.  Through their 
         12   direct involvement, BankBoston has helped to grow 
         13   City Year's 54 members in Boston to 1,000 across the 
         14   country. 
         15            BankBoston leads our efforts here and 
         16   around the country to now engage over 300 
         17   corporations, and Chad and Ira have testified before 
         18   Congress and have helped to build the Americorps 
         19   program nationwide.  Recently BankBoston, which 
         20   sponsored the first team in our history 10 years 
         21   ago, permanently endowed a team of young people in 
         22   service to City Year Boston.  This is the first 
         23   endowed community service positions for young people 
         24   in America history. 
         25            Fleet Bank has also been essential to our 
  0162
          1   organization, partnering with us since 1990 and 
          2   cofounding with BankBoston our Rhode Island program.  
          3   Fleet Bank executives now serve on our local 
          4   advisory board, contributing their time, energy, and 
          5   vision and make possible our annual celebrations of 
          6   Dr. Martin Luther King's holiday and our Black 
          7   History Month celebrations.  Over the past 10 years 
          8   these two banks combined have ensured that 260 young 
          9   people have provided a year of full-time service.  
         10   That means 442,000 hours of service tutoring and 
         11   mentoring children. 
         12            Our relationship with both institutions has 
         13   been one of integrity and purpose based on shared 
         14   values and deep wonder of the power of young people. 
         15   Our support for the merger is based on a decade of 
         16   partnership and belief.  I am confident that the 
         17   banks' firmly established traditions of community 
         18   partnership and involvement will continue in the 
         19   decade to come.  Thank you. 
         20            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you.  
         21   (Applause)
         22            I'd like to remind the witnesses that they 
         23   may submit their statements for the record, and the 
         24   sooner you get them to our registration table the 
         25   better it will be for our court reporters.  Thank 
  0163
          1   you. 
          2            MR. MIRABAL:  My name is Manuel Mirabal, 
          3   I'm the president and CEO of the National Puerto 
          4   Rican Coalition, a nonprofit public policy 
          5   organization out of Washington, D.C.  and I am also 
          6   the chair of the Hispanic Association on Corporate 
          7   Responsibility out of washington, D.C.
          8            Since 1994, NPRC and Fleet have been 
          9   working in partnership on issues of community 
         10   economic development and neighborhood 
         11   revitalization, affordable housing development, home 
         12   mortgage lending, and consumer banking issues.  In 
         13   the New England states where Fleet has a major 
         14   presence, the Puerto Rican community makes up more 
         15   than 50 percent of all of the Latino population.  In 
         16   New York and New Jersey, it is 1.5 million of the 3 
         17   million Hispanics who live in those states. 
         18            We have had many opportunities to meet with 
         19   the senior officials of Fleet and have found them to 
         20   be always accessible, including Mr. Terry Murray, 
         21   Fleet CEO, and Agnes Bundy Scanlan, the managing 
         22   director of Fleet's Community Development 
         23   Department.  And we have had several opportunities 
         24   to discuss the needs of the Latino community with 
         25   them and other banking officials.  We have seen a 
  0164
          1   steady improvement in the bank's investments to 
          2   support community housing development projects. 
          3            We have also targeted corporate and 
          4   foundation resources to support the work of 
          5   organizations serving our communities.  Throughout 
          6   our partnership, this has increased to a level which 
          7   now approaches, we believe, an equitable 
          8   distribution of these funds to the growing Latino 
          9   community.  Fleet has also created one of the most 
         10   flexible, affordable loan programs and has as a 
         11   result helped many Latino low-income families get 
         12   their dream of buying a home. 
         13            Fleet has also responded to our concerns 
         14   over the hiring of more Latinos in their structure, 
         15   and they have done so throughout their system 
         16   through recruitment and hiring.  Based on their 
         17   commitment to neighborhood reinvestment and 
         18   investment in our projects and the corporate 
         19   responsibility which Fleet has demonstrated in 
         20   working`with NPRC over the last six years I 
         21   encourage the Federal Reserve Bank to approve the 
         22   merger between Fleet Group and BankBoston.  Thank 
         23   you. 
         24            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         25   much.  (Applause) 
  0165
          1            MR. MOY:  My name is Frank Moy, and I'm the 
          2   chairman of the Boston Chamber of Neighborhood 
          3   Commerce.  The Boston Chamber of Neighborhood 
          4   Commerce was formed in 1991 during a very difficult 
          5   recession period by a group of small business owners 
          6   and representatives from every neighborhood business 
          7   district in Boston representing several thousand 
          8   neighborhood businesses.  Recently the Boston 
          9   Chamber Neighborhood Commerce became an affiliate 
         10   member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. 
         11            The primary mission of the BCNC is to 
         12   enhance the vitality of Boston's neighborhood 
         13   commercial districts.  The Boston Chamber 
         14   Neighborhood Commerce supports the Fleet-BankBoston 
         15   merger because both banks have New England roots and 
         16   have been active participants in promoting small 
         17   business lending and banking services.  Fleet and 
         18   BankBoston provide financial and staff support to 
         19   the Boston Chamber Neighborhood Commerce. 
         20            Staff from Fleet and BankBoston have and 
         21   continue to serve on the BCNC Board of Directors and 
         22   have participated in numerous workshops on small 
         23   business lending procedures, including the 5 C's of 
         24   Credit, Small Business Administration Low Doc 
         25   Program, second look program if a loan is denied, 
  0166
          1   and the Community Reinvestment Act.  Fleet and 
          2   BankBoston have participated in business support 
          3   programs on marketing, public relations, community 
          4   and public review process, e-commerce, retail 
          5   security, One Stop Program at the Empowerment 
          6   Center, and small business management. 
          7            In closing, we support the Fleet and 
          8   BankBoston merger because both organizations have 
          9   demonstrated their commitment to Boston's small 
         10   business community during good and bad economic 
         11   times.  Thank you. 
         12            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         13   much. 
         14            MR. DICKERMAN:  Hello.  I'm Stephen 
         15   Dickerman, the executive director of Friends of New 
         16   England Holocaust Memorial.  I've held this position 
         17   for 11 years.  Since our earliest days it's been our 
         18   dream to build a memorial to the Holocaust on 
         19   Boston's Freedom Trail, and I am pleased to share 
         20   with you the legacy of community leadership that we 
         21   at the memorial have experienced with BankBoston. 
         22            While the idea of the memorial was 
         23   conceived by a group of survivors to the Holocaust 
         24   and encouraged by a small group of their supporters, 
         25   it could not have been realized without the 
  0167
          1   leadership from Boston's corporate and philanthropic 
          2   community.  I have witnessed BankBoston making such 
          3   a leadership happen. 
          4            In 1991, the head of the Boston 
          5   Redevelopment Authority invited business leaders to 
          6   learn more about the potential impact that Message 
          7   of Memory could have on this important American 
          8   site.  It was at that meeting that the crucial 
          9   relationship between the Memorial and BankBoston 
         10   began. 
         11            BankBoston participated in that meeting and 
         12   responded to our plans and saw in it the opportunity 
         13   to remember the historical tragedies of European 
         14   Jews in a way that would speak to the universal 
         15   issues of danger of bigotry, intolerance, and racial 
         16   hatred.  BankBoston began a relationship with the 
         17   Memorial providing us with financial resources as 
         18   well as a wide range of support.  Most importantly, 
         19   BankBoston provided leadership to enlist other 
         20   institutions and individuals in support of the 
         21   project. 
         22            BankBoston's influence on our project has 
         23   been extraordinary.  The bank has supported our 
         24   capital campaign in a wide range of special projects 
         25   that help bring universal lessons to young people 
  0168
          1   and visitors from all backgrounds.  I'm very proud 
          2   of the Memorial, its critical success, and its 
          3   ability to speak to hundreds of thousands of 
          4   visitors.  Simply put, the Memorial could not have 
          5   been built and would not have sustained its 
          6   operations and extraordinary and educational 
          7   programs without BankBoston's remarkable leadership. 
          8            I also think the experience with the 
          9   Memorial told us a lot in support of a Boston-based 
         10   institution.  BankBoston, Fleet, and all of our 
         11   corporate supporters were Boston based.  I'm pleased 
         12   to speak in support of the merger.
         13            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Thank you very 
         14   much.  (Applause)
         15            We are ready for the next panel. 
         16            (A pause)
         17            PRESIDING OFFICER SMITH:  Panel Six will 
         18   start with the Reverend Sharpton. 


	
Last update: December 3, 2010