Spanish banking giant Banco Santander has inked a deal to buy a 19.8% stake in Sovereign Bancorp, Rosemont, Pa., a top-50-ranked residential mortgage lender.Within two years, and subject to negotiations, Santander will be allowed to buy all of Sovereign, which also funds commercial mortgages. On the same day the Santander investment was disclosed, Sovereign announced that it would buy all of Independence Community Bank of Brooklyn for $3.6 billion. The 19.8% stake in Sovereign is valued at $2.4 billion. Sovereign is the nation's third-largest savings and loan.

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