Banking on Boston

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Smaller agencies have benefited from new business generated by community banks and local financial institutions. Local banks are taking advantage of consolidations to pick up disaffected customers. A survey by the American Bankers Association found 71.6% of midsize banks-with $100 million to $1 billion in assets-increased their 2004 marketing budgets.

The biggest example may be in the Boston market, where hometown player FleetBoston Financial Corp. is being acquired by Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp.

"It just presents an opportunity for the local guys," said Chris Lawson, president of Clarke Goward, Boston. Clarke Goward was hired last year by Rockland Trust Co., in southeast Massachusetts, which stepped up its advertising after the Fleet announcement.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen was hired last month to handle the account of Eastern Bank, another Boston institution bidding for Fleet's customers. A campaign breaks this month, tagged "This is our territory."

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