May 25, 2006

Approval of proposal by Banco Santander Central Hispano

For immediate release

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced its approval of the proposal filed by Banco Santander Central Hispano, S.A., Madrid, Spain, to acquire up to 24.99 percent of the voting shares of Sovereign Bancorp, Inc. and indirectly acquire control of Sovereign’s subsidiary savings association, Sovereign Bank, both of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and Independence Community Bank Corp. and its subsidiary savings bank, Independence Community Bank, both of Brooklyn, New York.

Attached is the Board's Order relating to this action.

Last Update: May 25, 2006