Roy Lever is grappling with a quandary rampant among bankers right now: trying to boost share of a crucial market while riding out the recession.

On the one hand, the head of retail banking at Sovereign Bancorp wants to use the momentum from the Wyomissing, Pa., company's recent sale to Banco Santander to make a bigger splash in the coveted New York market. To that end, he oversaw a ribbon-cutting for a new branch in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday, with another new branch slated further downtown, near Penn Station, later this year.

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