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Monopoly-Creating Bank Consolidation? The Merger of Fleet and BankBoston


  • Charles W. Calomiris
  • Thanavut Pornrojnangkool


The merger of Fleet and BankBoston in September 1999 resulted in a regional New England lending market in which only one large, universal bank remained. We explore the extent to which that merger resulted in monopoly rents for the combined entity in some niches within the regional loan market. For small- and medium-sized middle-market borrowers, prior to the merger, Fleet and BankBoston charged unusually low loan interest rates, reflecting their ability to realize economies of scope and scale. After the merger, those cost savings were no longer passed on to medium-sized middle-market borrowers, which resulted in an increase in the average interest rate credit spreads to those borrowers of roughly one percent. Small-sized middle-market borrowers (which continued to enjoy the advantage of loan market competition from remaining small banks) maintained their low spreads. Our results suggest that it may be desirable for regulators to consider the concentration in lending markets in addition to deposit markets when evaluating mergers and structuring appropriate divestiture requirements.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles W. Calomiris & Thanavut Pornrojnangkool, 2005. "Monopoly-Creating Bank Consolidation? The Merger of Fleet and BankBoston," NBER Working Papers 11351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11351
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    Cited by:

    1. Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg, 2014. "Did Robert Bork Understate the Competitive Impact of Mergers? Evidence from Consummated Mergers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(S3), pages 67-100.
    2. Charles Calomiris & Thanavut Pornrojnangkool, 2009. "Relationship Banking and the Pricing of Financial Services," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 35(3), pages 189-224, June.
    3. Robert DeYoung & Douglas Evanoff & Philip Molyneux, 2009. "Mergers and Acquisitions of Financial Institutions: A Review of the Post-2000 Literature," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 36(2), pages 87-110, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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