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Sovereign Bank and CheckFree to Plant a Tree For Every New Electronic Bill Activation

Companies Partner for 'Go Paperless' Campaign to Drive Consumers to Use E-bills

ATLANTA and WYOMISSING, Pa., April 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CheckFree Corporation (Nasdaq: CKFR) and Sovereign Bank (NYSE: SOV) today affirmed their commitment to the environment by launching the "Go Paperless" campaign.

As part of the Go Paperless campaign, developed to educate consumers about the green-friendly benefits of paperless bills, Sovereign Bank and CheckFree will donate $1 to The National Arbor Day Foundation for each new electronic bill (e-bill) that customers activate at Sovereign Bank from April 1 through May 31, 2007. Each donation will help cover the cost of planting one new tree.

"People today are much more environmentally aware than ever, and are looking for ways - no matter how big or small - to do their part, from recycling to buying a hybrid car. Sovereign, together with our technology partner CheckFree, hopes that consumers will take the 'Go Paperless' challenge and start paying and receiving bills online as a way of doing their part to improve the environment," said Marshall Soura, managing director of Global Solutions Group, Sovereign Bank.

Consumers can sign up with participating billers to receive e-bills - which contain the same information as the typical paper version, delivered to them online rather than in the mail- at or at any of nearly 800 Sovereign Community Banking Offices in the Northeast. Receiving and paying bills online helps reduce the environmental impact of bill paying by eliminating the need for paper bills, envelopes and stamps. According to the United States Postal Service, more than 10 million tons of paper travel through the mail each year. By receiving and paying bills electronically, Americans can take one more step in preserving our natural resources.

"If every American household viewed and paid its bills online, it would reduce solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year, and help curb the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons," said James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin Strategy & Research, an independent research firm.

The Go Paperless campaign donations will go to The National Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees across the nation. Trees play a vital role in improving both urban and rural environments, while reducing energy consumption. A single tree in one day can provide oxygen for up to four people and discharge up to 100 gallons of water from the ground into the air, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In one year, a tree can absorb 16.87 pounds of carbon dioxide. Trees planted near buildings can also help lower utility costs and improve energy efficiency.

"It takes 24 trees to produce one ton of virgin printing and office paper," said Kevin Sander, director of corporate partnerships at The National Arbor Day Foundation. "Obviously, businesses and consumers won't ever stop needing paper, but technology is helping make an impact to reduce unnecessary paper usage and waste. Electronic bill payment is a key element in that quest, and we commend CheckFree and Sovereign Bank for their commitment to helping conserve our natural resources."

The 2007 Consumer Bill Payment Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and the Marketing Workshop, Inc., and sponsored by CheckFree, revealed that:

    -- Fifty-two percent of e-bill users agreed that "receiving bills in
       electronic form saves paper and energy, helping our nation's
       environment" is one of the reasons they chose to receive e-bills.

    -- Paperless billing is on the rise as consumers become more aware of the
       environmental benefits of e-billing. Thirty-nine percent of consumers
       receiving e-bills at bank websites said they no longer receive a mailed
       copy of that bill.

     Are e-Bills the Same as Regular Paper Bills?

    -- Improved Organization and Convenience -Consumers no longer have to
       worry about a stack of paper bills sitting on the kitchen table. Using
       a financial institution site, consumers can view all their bills and
       schedule payments on the date of their choosing from a single screen -
       while saving time and money.

    -- Better Financial Control-Consumers receive electronic bills at the same
       online banking site where they already schedule bill payments, making
       it easier to monitor and manage account balances. In addition,
       consumers can choose an advanced feature that enables them to receive
       alerts to review and authorize automatic payments whenever the bill
       amount varies from a set figure.

    -- Security From Fraud- More identity fraud takes place through
       traditional offline channels, such as unsecured mailboxes, than through
       the Internet. By using e-bills and taking other precautions, consumers
       can actually minimize the risk of identity fraud.

    Spend Some Time at

Consumers who want to learn more about electronic billing and payment can visit This virtual neighborhood helps consumers discover their bill payment tendencies through the Bill Payment Personality Quiz and includes a demo that shows them how fast and easy it is to receive and pay bills online. This educational website is a fun, interactive way for consumers to learn about how e-bills can save them time and money, review a list of financial institutions and portals that offer them, see which companies send bills and receive payments electronically, and review a list of items they will need to easily and quickly enroll in an electronic billing and payment service.

About The National Arbor Day Foundation (

The National Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental education organization of nearly one million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at

About Sovereign (

Sovereign Bancorp, Inc., ("Sovereign") (NYSE: SOV), the parent company of Sovereign Bank, is a $90 billion financial institution, as of December 31, 2006, with nearly 800 community banking offices, over 2,000 ATMs and approximately 12,000 team members with principal markets in the Northeast United States. Sovereign offers a broad array of financial services and products including retail banking, business and corporate banking, cash management, capital markets, wealth management and insurance. Sovereign is the 17th largest banking institution in the United States. For more information on Sovereign Bank, call 1-877-SOV-BANK.

About CheckFree (

Founded in 1981, CheckFree Corporation (Nasdaq: CKFR) provides financial electronic commerce services and products to organizations around the world. CheckFree Electronic Commerce solutions enable thousands of financial services providers and billers to offer the convenience of receiving and paying household bills online, via phone or in person through retail outlets. CheckFree Investment Services provides a broad range of investment management solutions and outsourced services to hundreds of financial services organizations, which manage about $1.7 trillion in assets. CheckFree Software develops, markets and supports payment processing solutions that are used by financial institutions to process more than two-thirds of the 14 billion Automated Clearing House transactions in the United States, and supports reconciliation, exception management, risk management, transaction process management, corporate actions processing, and compliance within thousands of organizations worldwide.

Certain of the Company's statements in this press release are not purely historical, and as such are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These include statements regarding management's intentions, plans, beliefs, expectations or projections of the future. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, the various risks inherent in the Company's business, and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2006 (filed September 8, 2006), Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2006 (filed November 8, 2006) and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 31, 2006 (filed February 8, 2007). One or more of these factors have affected, and could in the future affect the Company's business and financial results in future periods, and could cause actual results to differ materially from plans and projections.

There can be no assurance that the forward-looking statements made in this press release will prove to be accurate, and issuance of such forward-looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by the Company, or any other person, that the objectives and plans of the Company will be achieved. All forward-looking statements made in this press release are based on information presently available to management, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.


media, Judy DeRango Wicks, +1-678-375-1595,; or investor relations, Tina Moore, +1-678-375-1278,, both of CheckFree; or Ellen Molle, +1-617-757-5573,, of Sovereign

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Fiserv, Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.