Continuing its bid to dominate its competitors in the New England commercial lending market, Fleet Financial Group has lured three real estate specialists from Bank of Boston Corp.

Matthew E. Galligan, the well-connected managing director and co-head of Bank of Boston's real estate capital markets unit, will join Fleet later this month as a managing director of commercial real estate.

He will report to Kenneth J. Witkin, head of commercial real estate, who said he plans to continue building Fleet's real estate staff with more hires.

John J. Regan Jr., former director of real estate syndications with Bank of Boston, and a 10-year real estate veteran of Chase Manhattan, joins Fleet as a senior vice president. And Kip Anders Sanford, a senior associate responsible for real estate loan syndications at Bank of Boston, joins Fleet as a vice president.

Both Mr. Regan, 32, and Mr. Sanford, 30, will report to Mr. Galligan.

The hirings mark a continuation of Fleet's assault on its crosstown rival's corporate lending talent. Earlier this year, Fleet hired James C. Lewis from Bank of Boston to head its media and communications lending unit.

Discussing his decision to switch banks, Mr. Galligan said Fleet has "geographic reach not only in New England, but also a national platform."

Mr. Galligan, 42, "has been an innovator in the commercial real estate business, and someone who we were familiar with. John (Regan) has been dominant in the New York market and will provide tremendous commercial real estate knowledge for our division," Mr. Witkin said.

Mr. Galligan said he will be involved in mortgage brokerage, investing in commercial mortgage-backed securities, and mezzanine debt.

He joined Bank of Boston in 1986 and was responsible for distributing real estate products and building the bank's real estate syndication business. He started his banking career at Chase Manhattan Corp. in 1976.

Fleet Financial Group's commercial real estate division has a portfolio of $7.5 billion and 2,500 commercial relationships.

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