B of A Charitable Foundation Unit Looks to Leverage Fleet Business

By Ackermann, Matt | American Banker, February 12, 2004 | Go to article overview

B of A Charitable Foundation Unit Looks to Leverage Fleet Business


Ackermann, Matt, American Banker


Armed with FleetBoston's private banking resources and market in the Northeast, Bank of America Corp.'s private and charitable foundations group plans to expand nationally in 2004.

Paul W. Dresselhaus, the national director of the Charlotte banking company's private and charitable foundations business, said that when he looks at the FleetBoston Financial Corp. business that is scheduled to be acquired when the companies' merger deal closes in April, he sees some logical opportunities. Fleet has $41.1 billion of private-client assets, of which private and charitable foundation assets total $8.3 billion, but the complementary market footprint offers even more opportunities, he said.

"We talk about it amongst ourselves all the time," Mr. Dresselhaus said. "If everything goes smoothly Fleet can really enhance what we do here. The Northeast is a footprint with a strong concentration of wealth. If we use our model as the companies are assimilated, there are real opportunities here."

Mr. Dresselhaus said that, when the merger is completed, the expanded private and charitable foundations group will "be more proactive" about soliciting business in the Northeast.

"We can't let this business just come to us," he said. "We are going to create a dedicated sales force and also call on referrals from attorneys and accountants to find opportunities to grow. Given our depth of abilities, the tremendous buffet of service we can use nationally, and the complementary footprints, growth is expected."

Fleet has been effective as a regional bank in offering donor-advised funds and some charitable giving products and services, Mr. Dresselhaus said, but with a dedicated sales force, the opportunities are limitless.

"The private and charitable foundations group is a core business for Bank of America after the merger is completed," he said.

Bank of America managed more than $15 billion of foundation, endowment, and charitable assets in 2,800 accounts as of Dec. 31. Its private bank currently manages more private foundations -- about 1,000 -- than any other bank, according to The Foundation Center in New York. …

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