FleetBoston Financial Corporation History

One Federal Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02110-2010

Telephone: (617) 346-4000
Fax: (617) 434-6943

Public Company
Incorporated: 1791 as Providence Bank
Employees: 59,200
Total Assets: $190.69 billion (1999)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: FLT
NAIC: 551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies; 522110 Commercial Banking; 522210 Credit Card Issuing; 522291 Consumer Lending; 522292 Real Estate Credit; 522293 International Trade Financing; 523110 Investment Banking and Securities Dealing; 523120 Securities Brokerage; 523910 Miscellaneous Intermediation; 523920 Portfolio Management; 523930 Investment Advice; 524113 Direct Life Insurance Carriers

Company Perspectives:

FleetBoston Financial is combining the best of our two organizations, Fleet and BankBoston, to create exceptional financial opportunities for 20 million customers. Our innovative banking services are complemented by a firm commitment to strengthen the communities where we do business through financial support, sponsorships, community development and service programs. Key Dates:

Key Dates:

Massachusetts Bank is founded in Boston.
Providence Bank is founded in Rhode Island.
The State Bank of Albany is formed in upstate New York.
The Warren Bank, predecessor of Shawmut National Corporation, is founded in Boston.
Safety Fund Bank is founded in Boston.
Massachusetts Bank becomes a national bank, as Massachusetts National Bank of Boston; Safety Fund becomes a national bank, as First National Bank of Boston.
Providence Bank becomes a national bank, under the name Providence National Bank.
The Industrial Trust Company is established in Rhode Island.
Massachusetts National and First National Bank of Boston merge, taking the latter's name.
Providence National makes first acquisition, Merchants National Bank.
Baystate Corporation, predecessor of BayBanks, Inc., is founded in Boston.
Providence National acquires Union Trust Company.
Providence National changes its name to Providence Union National Bank and Trust.
Providence Union merges with Industrial Trust, forming Industrial National Bank.
Industrial National forms holding company, Industrial Bancorp.
Industrial Bancorp is renamed Industrial National Corporation; Bank of Boston reorganizes under a new holding company, First National Boston Corporation.
Industrial National begins diversifying into nonbank financial services; State Bank of Albany takes over Liberty Bank of Buffalo, creating a holding company called Union Bank of New York.
Union Bank is renamed Norstar Bancorp; Industrial National is renamed Fleet Financial Group, Inc.
First National Boston changes its name to Bank of Boston Corporation .
Fleet makes its first bank acquisition outside Rhode Island, First Connecticut Bancorp of Hartford.
Fleet acquires Norstar, forming Fleet/Norstar Financial Group.
Fleet/Norstar takes over the failed Bank of New England.
Fleet/Norstar readopts the name Fleet Financial Group, Inc.
Fleet acquires Shawmut National and moves its headquarters to Boston.
Fleet acquires New Jersey-based NatWest Bancorp; Bank of Boston acquires BayBanks.
Fleet acquires Columbia Management Company, an asset management firm; Bank of Boston changes its name to BankBoston Corporation.
Fleet acquires discount broker Quick & Reilly, the consumer credit card operations of Advanta Corporation, and Merrill Lynch Specialists; BankBoston acquires Robertson Stephens, an investment banking firm.
Fleet acquires Sanwa Business Credit, a leasing and asset-based lending firm; Fleet acquires BankBoston and renames itself Fleet Boston Corporation.
Company is renamed FleetBoston Financial Corporation.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Babson, Jennifer, 'A Stunning Decade Caps 200 Years of Sleepy Growth: Fleet Cements Place as New England's Premier Bank,' Boston Globe, March 15, 1999, p. A12.
  • Beam, Alex, 'Bank of Boston: A Public Relations Nightmare,' Business Week, March 4, 1985, p. 38.
  • Blanton, Kimberly, 'Giant Fleet-Shawmut Deal Will Boost Region, Take Toll,' Boston Globe, February 22, 1995.
  • Blanton, Kimberly, and Doug Bailey, 'Behind the Bank of Boston Bloodbath: Risky New Emphasis on Retail Banking Helped Prompt Axing of Top Executives,' Boston Globe, November 9, 1993.
  • Bradford, Stacey L., 'All Dressed Up?,' Financial World, February 18, 1997, pp. 39--41.
  • Browning, Lynnley, 'A Nod to History, Heritage in Bank's Renaming,' Boston Globe, October 26, 1999, p. D1.
  • Chacon, Richard, 'Managing the Crisis: BankBoston Sticks to Latin Expansion Strategy,' Boston Globe, September 30, 1998, p. E1.
  • Chipello, Christopher J., 'Lend and Learn: Bank of Boston Faces the Perils That Await Eager `Superregionals,' Wall Street Journal, November 17, 1989.
  • Crozier, William M., Jr., BayBanks, New York: Newcomen Society of the United States, 1989, 19 p.
  • 'Fleet Financial, to Lessen Realty Woes, May Sell Third of Non-Performing Assets,' Wall Street Journal, September 17, 1992, p. A3.
  • 'Fleet/Norstar Financial Group, Inc.,' Barron's, September 11, 1989, p. 20.
  • 'Fleet's Ship Comes In,' Business Week, November 9, 1992, p. 104.
  • Grant, John F., and William C. Bullock, Jr., Merrill Bankshares Company, New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1977, 22 p.
  • Hechinger, John, 'Fleet Boston Executives Make Big Bet on Online Strategy,' Wall Street Journal, October 29, 1999, p. B4.
  • ------, 'FleetBoston, Flexing Its Muscles, Focuses on New York,' Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2000, p. B4.
  • ------, 'Fleet Financial to Acquire BankBoston,' Wall Street Journal, March 15, 1999, p. A3.
  • ------, 'Fleet Touts Benefits of BankBoston Deal,' Wall Street Journal, March 16, 1999, p. A3.
  • Henderson, Barry, 'Siren Song: With Lust in Its Heart, Fleet Grabs Columbia,' Barron's August 18, 1997, p. 34.
  • Hirsch, James S., 'Bank of Boston's Gifford Attacks Its Hidebound Image,' Wall Street Journal, December 14, 1995, p. B4.
  • ------, 'Once-Stodgy Bank of Boston Is Adding a Brazilian Beat,' Wall Street Journal, July 26, 1996, p. B4.
  • Hirsch, James S., and Steven Lipin, 'Bank of Boston to Acquire BayBanks for $2 Billion,' Wall Street Journal, December 13, 1995, p. A3.
  • Ip, Greg, and John Hechinger, 'FleetBoston Is Set to Buy M.J. Meehan & Co., Creating Largest Specialist Firm on NYSE Floor,' Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2000, p. C18.
  • Kerber, Ross, 'Fleet, BankBoston at E-Crossroads,' Boston Globe, August 3, 1999, p. D1.
  • ------, 'Fleet Financial Faces a Choice: To Buy or Be Bought?,' Wall Street Journal, December 2, 1997, p. B4.
  • ------, 'Robertson Stephens May Not Alter BankBoston's Status: Purchase for $800 Million Still Leaves Firm Vulnerable to Takeovers,' Wall Street Journal, June 1, 1998, p. B4.
  • Knecht, G. Bruce, and Suzanne Alexander Ryan, 'Grim Procedure: Fleet Financial's Plan to Reduce Its Payroll Involved Long Process,' Wall Street Journal, March 10, 1994, p. A1.
  • Knowles, Asa S., Shawmut: 150 Years of Banking, 1836-1986, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986, 517 p.
  • Koselka, Rita, 'Repentance,' Forbes, October 26, 1992, p. 144.
  • Lipin, Steven, Patrick McGeehan, and James S. Hirsch, 'Fleet Financial to Acquire Quick & Reilly,' Wall Street Journal, September 17, 1997, p. A3.
  • O'Brien, Timothy L., and Steven Lipin, 'Bank of Boston's Ira Stepanian Resigns After Failed Quests for a Merger Partner,' Wall Street Journal, July 28, 1995, p. A3.
  • O'Donnell, Thomas, 'A Slightly Improper Bostonian,' Forbes, August 3, 1981, pp. 35+.
  • Oliveri, David, 'Bank of Boston Joins Mutual Fund Parade,' Boston Business Journal, March 19, 1993, p. 1.
  • Rebello, Joseph, 'Bank of Boston Reaps Rewards of Its Latin Investment,' Wall Street Journal, November 3, 1994, p. B4.
  • Rebello, Joseph, and Steven Lipin, 'Bank of Boston's CEO Is Odd Man Out in New England,' Wall Street Journal, February 24, 1995, p. B4.
  • 'Right Time, Right Place, Right Price,' Business Week, May 6, 1991, pp. 26--29.
  • Ryan, Suzanne Alexander, 'Bank of Boston Ties Fortunes to Loans for Small Firms,' Wall Street Journal, February 3, 1994, p. B4.
  • ------, 'Bank of Boston Top Managers Knew of Weak Loans Ahead of `89 Disclosure,' Wall Street Journal, April 25, 1994, p. A4.
  • Smith, Geoffrey, 'Fleet's Can-Do Spirit: We Can Do Without,' Business Week, March 21, 1994, p. 106.
  • ------, 'These Brahmins Are Learning to Hustle: Bank of Boston Is Shedding Its Stuffiness to Better Its Bottom Line,' Business Week, July 26, 1993, p. 69.
  • Smith, Geoffrey, Phillip L. Zweig, and Alison Rea, 'Time to Put Away the Checkbook: Now, Fleet Needs to Bring Order to Its Furious Expansion,' Business Week, June 10, 1996, p. 97.
  • Stein, Charles, 'Region's Giant Banks Battle On: BankBoston, Fleet Vie for Funds, Attention,' Boston Globe, July 28, 1997, p. A1.
  • 'Terry Murray's Regional View,' Industry Week, November 11, 1985, p. 66.
  • Therrien, Lois, 'Bank of Boston Anchors Closer to Home,' Business Week, December 3, 1984, p. 149.
  • Torres, Craig, and Ross Kerber, 'Argentine Judge Says He Warned BankBoston on Loan-Case Figure,' Wall Street Journal, May 7, 1998, p. B18.
  • 'Unbankerish Banker,' Forbes, July 16, 1984, pp. 123--27.
  • Wessel, Davis, and Bob Davis, 'Under a Cloud: Bank of Boston Faces Image Problem Likely to Linger for Years,' Wall Street Journal, March 7, 1985.
  • 'Who Was Minding the Shop?,' Forbes, March 10, 1986, p 135.
  • Wilke, John R., 'Bank of Boston Forces Out Entire Layer of Senior Management in Surprise Move,' Wall Street Journal, November 1, 1993, p. B5.
  • Williams, Ben Ames, Jr., Bank of Boston 200: A History of New England's Leading Bank, 1784-1984, Boston: Houghton, 1984, 480 p.
  • Zuckoff, Mitchell, 'Bank of Boston Bounces Back,' Boston Globe, December 29, 1992.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 36. St. James Press, 2001.