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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Statement on Federal Reserve Board Approval of Bank of America/Fleet Financial Merger

Washington, D.C. (March 8, 2004) - Kenneth A. Guenther, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, released a statement today on the Federal Reserve Board's approval of the Bank of America/Fleet Financial merger:

"The U.S. now has two trillion dollar banks and will soon have a third. Policy makers should ask themselves whether banks this size that are too-big-to-fail can be effectively regulated.

"When the pending J.P. Morgan Chase/Bank One merger is completed, the three largest banks will control more than one-third of U.S. banking assets. History may judge that three financial behemoths, each controlling $1 trillion in assets, quasi-nationalized our financial services industry. And that unlike trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt one hundred years ago, we weren't sufficiently sensitive to the threat."




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