Standard & Poor's last week upgraded Bank of Boston Corp.'s senior debt to A-minus from BBB-plus, based largely on the strength of the banking company's corporate finance and international banking businesses.

S&P also raised the outlook for the bank and its subsidiaries to stable.

The upgrade reflects a continuing trend of improved financial performance, good business-line diversity, and strong market positions at New England's second-largest bank, the rating agency said.

S&P singled out Bank of Boston's focus on national corporate banking and international banking for providing it with a "level of diversification not found at most traditional regional and superregional peers."

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