Faced with a slowdown in its capital markets businesses and having already maxed out its market share growth opportunities in its New England home base, FleetBoston Financial Corp. has been diverting resources to New York, where it aims to become a more formidable competitor for retail and middle-market customers.

But the company’s expansion drive targets one of the most competitive regions in the country, and Fleet is simultaneously looking to slash up to $700 million of expenses this year. To raise the bar higher still, it seems that the expansion must be done without making any further major acquisitions in the region.

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