Sovereign Bancorp ( SOV) slumped 5% after the Philadelphia bank announced a host of fourth-quarter charges due to the weak consumer credit market and overall housing decline. Sovereign is taking a $1.4 billion noncash impairment charge on goodwill from its consumer and New York Metro area businesses. Shares were recently down 54 cents to $10.15. Approximately $600 million of the charge relates to the bank's consumer lending, particularly a result of the poor credit environment, along with Sovereign's decision to cease originating auto loans in the Southeast and Southwest last quarter, it said. The other $800 million relates to its 2006 acquisition of Independence Community Bank, where revenue and deposit growth have been "less than expected," the bank said.
Sovereign, set to report earnings Jan. 23, boosted its loan loss provision to $148 million because of the housing decline. In total, the company has set aside $738 million for loans gone bad. The company also had $180 million noncash impairment charge on certain Fannie Mae ( FNM) and Freddie Mac ( FRE) preferred stock securities and expects pretax charges of $27 million, related to certain financing Sovereign provided to two failed mortgage companies, it said. Sovereign's news comes as M&T Bank ( MTB) set a shaky tone for a host of regional and national banks set to report earnings. M&T missed Wall Street's fourth-quarter projections, as it took a charge related to its slumping portfolio of mortgage-related securities.