WYOMISSING, Pa., - Sovereign Bancorp said Wednesday it would sell 14 branches along the north central border of Pennsylvania to two community banks.Sovereign, which last month completed the first of three phases of acquiring $12 billion in deposits and 285 branches from FleetBoston Financial Corp., said the branches, with $190 million of deposits and $88 million of loans, were "geographically isolated" from Sovereign's core franchise. the sales are part of Sovereign's strategy to "select and refine the markets" in which it does business, said Jay S. Sidhu, the company's president and chief executive.

The $31 billion-asset parent company of Sovereign Bank said it would sell nine branches in Potter and Tioga counties to Northwest Savings Bank, of Warren, and five branches in Bradford County to First Citizens National Bank. of Mansfield. A sale price was not disclosed.

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