Sovereign Bancorp has just barely dipped its toe into the New England market and already the war of words and fight for customers with FleetBoston Financial Corp. has begun.

Since Monday, when Wyomissing, Pa.-based Sovereign first opened its doors in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the two banking companies have been sparring over Fleet's handling of a noncompete policy. Meanwhile, Sovereign's debut has been marred by technical glitches affecting customers of its automated teller machines and its New England-based call center.

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