FleetBoston Financial Corp. is about to give Citigroup Inc. a run for its money south of the border.

Over the next five years, the $180 billion-asset banking company plans to boost assets in Mexico to between $4 billion and $5 billion, from around $850 million currently. If successful, the plan would make FleetBoston second only to Citigroup among U.S. banks with a major local corporate and retail banking operation in a country that senior executives at the bank view as a critical market.

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