BoA transitions Fleet while trying to allay MA concerns

NEW YORK: Bank of America (BoA) is spending millions on an integrated-marketing campaign designed to showcase the conversion of hundreds of Fleet branches throughout the Northeast to the BoA brand.

NEW YORK: Bank of America (BoA) is spending millions on an integrated-marketing campaign designed to showcase the conversion of hundreds of Fleet branches throughout the Northeast to the BoA brand.

At the same time, it is juggling personnel in an effort to calm a public and political outcry over employment numbers in Massachusetts.

The transition of the outlets began in upstate New York in August, and will cover all of

New England by year's end. The splashiest ceremony took place in Manhattan last month, when BoA combined several days of ribbon-cutting ceremonies with $1 million gifts to both Jazz at Lincoln Center and the city's Fund for Public Schools.

Alexandra Trower, SVP and head of national media at the company, said that in-house staff working with RF Binder and IPG, the bank's AOR, handled the New York rollout. IPG firms on the task included Weber Shandwick, Golin Harris, and Powell Tate.

BoA has invested heavily in branch offices at a time when some analysts are counseling against them. But they are on line with national trends - Tracey Mills, senior manager of PR for the American Banking Association, says US banks add about 1,000 new branches every year.

Joe Miller, executive MD of RF Binder, said market research indicates "having a physical presence in their local communities helps deepen the relationship with their customers."

Meanwhile, since the $48 billion acquisition of Fleet in April, BoA has stumbled in efforts to stay friendly with officials in Massachusetts, where Fleet was based. State treasurer Timothy Cahill threatened to pull $120 million in state funds out of BoA after it was revealed that it might cut hundreds of jobs there.

On September 23, the company announced that it was relocating its Wealth and Investment Management to Boston, restoring both jobs and goodwill to the area. BoA spokeswoman Eloise Hale denied that the relocation was a PR move.

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