SBD/18/Finance

FLEET LOOKS FOR BOTTOM LINE IN ATTEMPT TO CHANGE IMAGE

          The Fleet Financial Group's attempt to "change its
     image from a rah-rah civic booster to more of a bottom-line-
     oriented group," examined by Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON
     GLOBE.  Fleet yesterday finalized a $185M loan to the
     Ravens, which company spokesperson James Mahoney said is
     "being viewed around the league as breaking new ground in
     terms of financing because of the structure, because of the
     level of debt.  The more sophisticated debt structure allows
     for a higher level of debt."  Cassidy adds that the Ravens'
     deal "some say, was meant to put the industry on notice that
     Fleet's sports lending division is not retreating in the
     wake" of the John Spano incident.  In a related note,
     Celtics CFO Richard Pond discussed the team's decision to
     "shop for another bank" and sever ties with Fleet.  Pond:
     "They weren't being as proactive as we wanted them to be.  I
     think a big part of a relationship is feeling like you're
     really wanted.  Much like a personal relationship would be. 
     I think also, in their defense, they were going through a
     period internally where they didn't know who was going to be
     leading the charge."  Fleet execs say the team's decision
     "has nothing to do" with the resignation of David Splaine,
     former head of its sports lending division, "and everything
     to do with money" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/17).

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