WYOMISSING, Pa. - Sovereign Bancorp has agreed to acquire Freehold, N.J.-based Colonial State Bank for $6.25 million in cash.

Colonial is a $45 million-asset state bank with one office. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Sovereign's earnings within one year.

"The acquisition continues to strengthen Sovereign's presence in central New Jersey and provides Sovereign with unique opportunities made available by having both thrift and bank subsidiaries," said Sovereign president and chief executive officer, Jay Sidhu.

With $6.6 billion in assets, Sovereign said it won't lay off any Colonial employees.

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