Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Builds Money-Center Image with Corporate Finance Expansion

Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Builds Money-Center Image with Corporate Finance Expansion

Article excerpt

In an effort to become more of a money-center bank, Fleet Financial Group Inc. is expanding its corporate wholesale and capital markets-related operations.

Senior executives with the Boston-based bank said they plan to develop private placements, mergers and advisory services, syndications and structured finance as part of a strategic move announced earlier this week to set up a corporate finance group.

In addition, the bank will be looking to develop business with larger companies. Fleet has until now focused mainly on companies with up to $250 million in annual sales.

"What we're doing is following a trend within the commercial banking industry to provide customers with a broader range of products," said Robert Higgins, a Fleet vice chairman.

Last year, Fleet bought Shawmut National Corp., and is scheduled to merge with National Westminister Bancorp by June. This will create a $90 billion- asset institution with a wider range of customers than Fleet traditionally has had.

Fleet now has $84 billion in assets and ranks as the 10th-largest U.S. bank.

Mr. Higgins noted that both Shawmut and Natwest have worked with large corporations, which require a more sophisticated array of corporate finance products.

"There was a need to create a comprehensive menu of products and services that was not urgent when Fleet was a $30 billion or $40 billion company but has become critical as a $90 billion institution," Mr. …

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