Magazine article American Banker

In Calif., Support for B of A Deal

Magazine article American Banker

In Calif., Support for B of A Deal

Article excerpt

Bank of America Corp. faced almost no opposition here Friday, at the second of two Federal Reserve Board hearings, to its pending purchase of FleetBoston Financial Corp.

Community activists passed out leaflets, waved signs, and even sang to kick off their testimony, but in the end they gave their blessing to the deal.

"We are here in support of the merger," said Bruce Marks, the chief executive officer of Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, in an interview. "Bank of America has been and continues to be committed to community development."

And even the Greenlining Institute, which presented a list of concerns and demands for Bank of America, said it would take no action to block the merger.

"We are supporting this deal, but with qualifications," said John Gamboa, the executive director of Greenlining, a San Francisco-based community advocacy group. B of A's lending and philanthropy commitments "on the surface look great, and we have faith" that they will be met, he said, "but we need more specific commitments."

Most of the demands Greenlining made Friday focused on what Bank of America would do for California, where 30% of the company's assets and 34% of its deposits are located, Mr. Gamboa noted.

The group wants specific pledge of community development dollars for the state and an equal share of the philanthropic activities it says are tilted toward North Carolina and New England. It also wants a high-ranking executive to be based in California and frequent visits by Kenneth D. Lewis, the chairman and CEO.

Greenlining does not plan to file a lawsuit to block the merger if its demands are not met, Mr. …

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