PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Fleet Financial Group said it had completed the previously announced sale of $525 million of problem assets.

The multiple buyers of the assets - commercial loans, commercial real estate loans, residential real estate loans, and other real estate owned - were not identified.

Fleet said 70% to 75% of the portfolio was classified as nonperforming at Sept. 30. Purchase prices averaged 50% to 55% of book value.

Third-quarter earnings of the $45 billion-asset banking company included a $115 million pretax charge for the asset sales. Terrence Murray, chairman and chief executive officer, said the move improves Fleet's balance sheet and asset-quality ratios, reduces asset-management costs, and better positions the company for growth.

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