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Sovereign Cutting 8% of Workforce

1,000 employees to be laid off

December 19, 2008

By MortgageDaily.com staff

Sovereign Bank disclosed plans to eliminate more than 8 percent of its workforce -- including some mortgage jobs.

The Reading, Pa.-based company announced today that it will reduce headcount by approximately 1,000 employees. Current headcount is around 12,000.

The layoffs will begin immediately and continue through next year.

The decision to layoff employees followed a comprehensive examination of its 2009 budget. Sovereign said the moves are part of a plan to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

"The analysis was part of a broader effort to focus on our fundamental lines of business and to set our long-term strategic direction," Sovereign action Chief Executive Officer Kirk Walters said in the statement. "The decision to reduce our workforce was a very difficult one, especially during the holiday season."

A Sovereign spokesman declined to comment on the number of estimated mortgage employees impacted by the decision, noting that "We're not going to break the figure down by specific lines of business."

But he did say the company-wide reductions will be across the bank's footprint.

"There is never a good time to reduce staff, but this step is necessary, particularly during this economic environment," Walters added. "We are working to make the transition from the bank as smooth as possible for all affected team members."

In December 2006, parent Sovereign Bancorp Inc., laid off less than 100 employees when it closed three wholesale offices in Indiana, Georgia and California. At the time, Sovereign President and CEO Joseph P. Campanelli made a nearly identical statement as Walters did today: "The decision to reduce our workforce was a very difficult one to make, especially during the holiday season."

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