FleetBoston Financial Group has joined a growing list of banking companies that are telling employees to cut back on travel, outside professional services, and other discretionary expenses as the economy sputters.

The company told senior managers last Friday to keep a tighter rein on expenses “in an effort to protect the bottom line,” a spokesman said. Like other banks, Fleet is reacting to a slowing economy that is threatening revenue growth in some of its key businesses, namely in investment banking, private equity, and other corporate banking activities.

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