From the window of his 11th-floor office, Michael C. Noble looks out on scores of construction workers tearing up Providence's pavement. Underneath are dozens of old canals, which the workers plan to expose and connect as part of a major renovation of the Rhode Island capital's infrastructure.

The scene is an inspiration to Mr. Noble, who is trying to pull off a similar feat for Fleet Financial Group Inc. A managing director for Fleet Investment Services, Mr. Noble is building bridges between the private client services unit of the Boston-based bank and those of the two competitors it recently acquired - Shawmut National Corp. and the U.S. retail operation of National Westminster Bank PLC.

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