For Fleet Financial Group's already-potent mortgage unit, the merger deal with BankBoston is a shot in the arm.

The deal would significantly expand the mortgage company's customer base. Between the bank and the mortgage company, Fleet has a customer base of 14 million households, said A. William Schenck 3d, chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Mortgage Group of Columbia, S.C. The merger would raise that to 20 million, he said.

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