|Industry||Finance and Insurance|
|Fate||acquired by Bank of America|
|Successor(s)||Bank of America|
FleetBoston Financial was a Boston, Massachusetts–based bank created in 1999 by the merger of Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston. In 2004 it merged with Bank of America; all of its banks and branches were converted to Bank of America.
Providence-based Fleet Bank began to acquire banks outside Rhode Island in the 1980s and early 1990s, most notably the Bank of New England in 1991. In 1988, Fleet merged with Albany, New York-based Norstar Bancorp to form Fleet/Norstar Financial Group. In 1992, the company was renamed Fleet Financial Group.
Fleet was already one of the three largest banks in New England, together with Shawmut National Corp. and its largest affiliate Shawmut Bank, and Bank of Boston, yet state and federal regulators allowed Fleet to merge with Shawmut in 1995, creating a major regional bank that held 30% of all deposits in New England. Fleet was now the largest bank in New England and the ninth largest in the United States. Although old Fleet was the nominal survivor, the merged bank was headquartered in Boston.
As a result of the merger with Shawmut, Fleet acquired the naming rights to the newly built Shawmut Center, a sports arena that was to replace the old Boston Garden. The arena therefore opened as the FleetCenter in 1995. After FleetBoston's sale to Bank of America in 2004, the bank chose to give up its naming rights and an announcement was made on March 3, 2005 that the arena would be renamed TD Banknorth Garden. It is home to the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association and the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League.
In 1996 Fleet acquired the US branch network (in New York and New Jersey) of the British National Westminster Bank.
Fleet's biggest merger came in 1999, when it acquired BankBoston (which was itself the fruit of a 1996 merger between Bank of Boston and BayBank). The new FleetBoston was the culmination of a series of Boston-area bank mergers that combined several smaller banks into a single large institution. FleetBoston was the seventh-largest bank in the United States, as measured by assets (US$197 billion in 2003). It had almost 50,000 employees, over 20 million customers worldwide and revenues of $12 billion per year.
In 2000, it acquired New Jersey-based Summit Bancorp (which was actually United Jersey Bank (aka UJB Financial), which had acquired Summit back in 1996). The same year, it sold 285 of its New England branches to Sovereign Bank.
FleetBoston faced a class-action suit over a "bait and switch" scam where it promised a no-annual fee credit card, only to impose a fee months later. When Bank of America acquired Fleet in 2004, its overall Customer Satisfaction Index (as measured by the University of Michigan), was dragged down from 74 to 72. Bank of America devoted considerable resources to improving its New England branches' reputation for customer service, establishing customer call centers and hiring more tellers per branch.
- Kenrick Ou, "Fleet Bank to acquire Shawmut", The Yale Herald, 24 February 1995. Accessed 12 January 2008.
- Niamh Ring, "Quick & Reilly shareholders agree to Fleet's terms", American Banker, January 26, 1998. Accessed 19 September 2009.
- Sovereign Bank Seals Deal With Fleetboston. The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Shannon P. Duffy, "3rd Circuit Deals Blow to Banks Over Credit Card Fee Changes", The Legal Intelligencer, February 8, 2003. Accessed 12 January 2008.
- Edward Mason, "Survey: Fleet's low-care reputation drags B of A scores", Boston Business Journal, 25 February 1995. Accessed 12 January 2008.