BOSTON - FleetBoston Financial Corp. said it completed the final stage of its branch and deposit divestitures last weekend, turning over 96 branches in Massachusetts and 13 in New Hampshire to Sovereign Bancorp of Wyomissing, Pa.
Fleet agreed last year to divest 315 branches and $12 billion of deposits to allay antitrust concerns raised in its merger with BankBoston Corp. Sovereign, which won the bidding for the bulk of the branches, is now the third-largest banking company in New England, behind Fleet and Citizens Financial Group of Providence, R.I.
The conversion over the weekend involved about 526,000 customer accounts with deposits of $4.2 billion and loans of $2.1 billion. The branches were opened Monday under the name Sovereign Bank of New England.
Sovereign has pledged $1.3 billion of community investments over the next three years in New England, including $295 million of mortgages, $517.5 million of small-business loans, $131 million of community development credits, and $380.4 million of consumer credits.
A number of community banks in the region also bought FleetBoston branches. Last weekend Fleet turned over another 9,000 accounts and $62 million of deposits to Enterprise Bank of Massachusetts.
Fleet completed the previous stages of its sale to Sovereign in March and June.