Statement of Congressman Mike Capuano (D-MA) Regarding Rumors Surrounding Possible Take-Over of FleetBoston Financial Corp

August 1, 2002

"Over the last several months, there have been persistent rumors regarding a possible take-over of FleetBoston by a large New York bank. I wanted to go on the record with an early opinion of this possible merger. Based on what has been reported, I have serious concerns with the sale of Boston's largest bank to an out-of-state competitor."

"A number of years ago, I raised concerns about the Fleet-Bank Boston merger, but took comfort in the fact that the surviving entity would be based in Boston. The current proposal would shift decision-making for New England's largest bank to people who do not necessarily understand the local business climate or local needs. This geographic and institutional distance would inevitably lead to reduced levels of service for individual and business customers and reduced concern for community involvement. It would also drastically reduce the region's influence in the international world of financial services. Additionally, I am not aware of any lack of regional financing options that would argue in favor of such a take-over."

"Finally, with huge corporate bankruptcies in the news each day, I have concerns with a sale that would concentrate additional banking resources in fewer and fewer companies. Fleet's customers were put through a merger just three years ago. They should not have to go through another round of branch divestitures, fee increases, and other changes."

"Absent compelling new information about the benefits to the region, I ask that all business and political leaders throughout New England join me in viewing this possible transaction with concern."