This excerpt taken from the FULT 10-K filed Mar 16, 2005.
The banking and financial services industries are highly competitive. Within its geographical region, the Corporations subsidiaries face direct competition from other commercial banks, varying in size from local community banks to larger regional and national banks, and credit unions. With the growth in electronic commerce and distribution channels, the banks also face competition from banks not physically located in the Corporations geographical markets.
The competition in the industry has also increased in recent years as a result of the passage of the GLB Act. Under the GLB Act, banks, insurance companies or securities firms may affiliate under a financial holding company structure, allowing expansion into non-banking financial services activities that were previously restricted. These include a full range of banking, securities and insurance activities, including securities and insurance underwriting, issuing and selling annuities and merchant banking activities. While the Corporation does not currently engage in all of these activities, the ability to do so without separate approval from the Federal Reserve Board enhances the ability of the Corporation and financial holding companies in general to compete more effectively in all areas of financial services.
As a result of the GLB Act, there is more competition for customers that were traditionally served by the banking industry. While the GLB Act increased competition, it also provided opportunities for the Corporation to expand its financial services offerings, such as insurance products through Fulton Insurance Services Group, Inc. The Corporation also competes through the variety of products that it offers and the quality of service that it provides to its customers. However, there is no guarantee that these efforts will insulate the Corporation from competitive pressure, which could impact its pricing decisions for loans, deposits and other services and could ultimately impact financial results.