As Sovereign Bancorp of Wyomissing, Pa., moves into New England, it has set a 75-cent automated teller machine surcharge for those states and is touting this fee as a customer-friendly "statement."

Sovereign, which charges $1.50 to noncustomers who use its ATMs in the Middle Atlantic states, is buying 285 branches in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island that were divested as part of the recent merger of Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston Corp. These branches have 556 ATMs.

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