Sovereign Bank Reports $438.1 million Net Income in 2012 - 38.3% increase versus 2011

  Sovereign Bank Reports $438.1 million Net Income in 2012 - 38.3% increase
                                 versus 2011

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Feb. 4, 2013

BOSTON, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  oThird Consecutive Year of Profitability
  oStrong Loan Growth
  oContinued Improvement in Asset Quality
  oTier I Common Capital Ratio of 12.86% is among strongest in U.S.
  oInvesting in the Communities We Serve and in Education

Sovereign Bank, N.A. today announced a 38.3% increase in net income to $438.1
million in 2012 versus $316.9 million in 2011. Sovereign also reported net
income of $69.7 million for the final quarter of 2012, which brings the Bank
to its third straight year of profitability.

"As we close 2012, we reflect on the many milestones the Bank has achieved
this year, beginning with our conversion to a national charter last January,"
said Jorge Moran, Sovereign Bank President and CEO. "This change enabled the
Bank to expand its retail and commercial capabilities to better meet the needs
of clients. The new charter has enabled Sovereign to expand its wholesale
banking transactions. We continued investing strongly in the franchise and
showed double-digit growth in profits. We also grew our staff, with 340 new
team members, making approximately 8,900 Sovereign-Santander employees across
the footprint."

Lending Continues to Grow

Lending to commercial and industrial businesses grew by 23% during 2012
compared to 2011, significantly higher than the industry, where growth was
13%.

Net interest income was stable, at $1.8 billion, and fees and other income
grew by 14.6% to $611.5 million for the year when compared to 2011.

Sovereign Bank had a strong year in loan production in the areas of
residential mortgages, small business lending and corporate banking. Total
loan production for 2012 was $20.5 billion, a 28.3% increase over loan
production during 2011.

Outstanding total loan balances grew 3.1% during 2012 to $53.2 billion.

Additionally, residential mortgage production was up 37.0% in 2012 when
compared to 2011.

Sovereign Bank's commitment to invest in small businesses is a key component
of the Bank's strategy to support growth within our communities and generate
economic activity and employment. Lending to small businesses grew 10.0% in
2012, with Sovereign-Santander providing over $1.0 billion in loans to small
businesses throughout the regions. The industry is trending at 2% annual
growth.

The corporate banking business continues to experience growth as a result of
Sovereign Bank's national charter change that occurred in January of last year
as well as investment in local resources to support large business clients.
In 2012, net revenue for this business increased by 8%.

Continued Improvement in Asset Quality

Non-accrual loans decreased from $1.36 billion at December 31, 2011, to $1.17
billion (2.20% of total loans) at December 31, 2012, which was primarily due
to the continued improvement in the overall quality of the loan portfolio.
Offsetting the decrease was an increase of $113.9 million of loans (0.21% of
total loans), which began being reported as non-accrual in the third quarter
2012 in accordance with regulatory guidance requiring loans discharged under
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and not reaffirmed by the borrower to be reported as
non-accrual, regardless of their delinquency status.

Sovereign is one of thirteen banks and mortgage servicers nationwide that
reached a settlement agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency and the Federal Reserve Board related to foreclosure practices in
2009 and 2010.Sovereign's pro rata share of the settlement payment and other
assistance of $16 million was recorded in our 2012 results. The settlement is
expected to bring an end to the primary work and costs associated with the
independent foreclosure review process that began in 2011.

Strong Capital Position

Sovereign Bank continues to have one of the highest capital ratios in the U.S.
As of December 31, 2012, Sovereign's total equity was $12.8 billion. Sovereign
is a "well-capitalized" institution, with all regulatory capital ratios
continuing to be above applicable regulatory benchmarks.

Sovereign's Tier I common capital ratio and Tier I risk-based capital ratio
were 12.86% at the close of 2012. The current regulatory threshold for a
"well-capitalized" Tier I distinction is 6%.

Total assets were $83.1 billion as of December 31, 2012, a 6.4% increase over
December 31, 2011. Total deposits were $51.1 billion at December 31, 2012, a
6.3% increase over December 31, 2011.

Investing in Sovereign's Franchise

General and administrative expenses for the year were $1.4 billion, compared
to $1.3 billion in 2011, reflecting Sovereign's continued investment in
technology, people and resources to better support our customers. The
migration of certain customer accounts to the Group's IT system (Santander IT
Core) was accomplished this year, and is supporting Sovereign to become a
stronger franchise and creating new efficiencies.

Investing in the Communities We Serve

A core component of Sovereign's corporate social responsibility program is the
Bank's commitment to education through the Universities program. The Santander
Universities US division invested $8.8 million in higher education, of which
Sovereign-Santander contributed $8.1 million, with the remainder contributed
by the Santander Universities Global Division. Additionally, over $2 million
in Sovereign Bank Foundation grants were awarded.

To further emphasize the Bank's commitment to our communities, customers and
employees, the Bank and its team members donated over $500,000 to Hurricane
Sandy relief efforts including more than $400,000 to the American Red Cross.

About Sovereign Bank, N.A., Santander Holdings USA, Inc. and Banco Santander,
S.A.

Sovereign Bank, N.A. is among the top 25 banks in the United States, with
principal presence in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Sovereign has
721 branches, over 2,268 ATMs and nearly 8,900 team members. Sovereign Bank's
principal regulator is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Sovereign Bank is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank System and the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation. For more information on Sovereign Bank, visit
http://www.sovereignbank.com or call 877-SOV-BANK.

Santander Holdings USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander,
S.A., and parent company of Sovereign Bank, N.A. Banco Santander is a retail
and commercial global bank, with a presence in 10 main markets: U.S., Germany,
UK, Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Portugal. Founded in
1857, Santander has more than 102 million customers, approximately 14,392
branches – more than any other international bank – and 186,763 employees.
Santander was recently recognized as the Best Global Bank in 2012 by Euromoney
magazine. For more information on Santander, visit http://www.santander.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Sovereign Bank cautions that this press release may contain forward-looking
statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation,
statements concerning our future business development. While these
forward-looking statements represent our judgment and future expectations
concerning the development of our business, a number of risks, uncertainties
and other important factors could cause actual developments to differ
materially from our expectations. These risks, uncertainties and factors
include, but are not limited to: (1) general market, macro-economic,
governmental and regulatory trends; (2) movements in local and international
securities markets, currency exchange rates, and interest rates; (3)
competitive pressures; (4) technological developments; and (5) changes in the
financial position or creditworthiness of our customers, obligors and
counterparties. The risk factors and other key factors described in filings
and reports by Sovereign Bank and its parent entities, including filings and
reports by Santander Holdings USA, Inc. with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended
December 31, 2011, could adversely affect the development of our business.
Other unknown or unpredictable factors could cause actual developments to
differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The
information contained in this press release is subject to, and must be read in
conjunction with, all other publicly available information. Sovereign Bank and
its affiliates do not undertake to update the forward-looking statements to
reflect the impact of circumstances or events that may arise after the date of
the forward-looking statements.



SOURCE Sovereign Bank

Website: http://www.sovereignbank.com
Contact: Kathy Klingler, Director of Corporate Communications,
+1-617-346-7433, kklingle@sovereignbank.com, or Holly Steel, Communications
Manager, +1-617-346-7385, jberry@sovereignbank.com