SANTANDER bank will open a total of 51 new branches in 2006 in the Balearics, Valencia and Murcia. This will bring the number of its offices in these three regions to 393. Santander has 250'000 private clients in these three communities and strong business connections. These figures were given yesterday during a meeting in Valencia of 900 managers from Santander's Levante region to inform them about the plan to abolish charges for account services put in place by the directors. This information was given by the head of Santander's Commercial Bank in Spain, Enrique Garcia Candelas. The Plan, We want to be your bank has meant that 2.2 million private clients of Santander in Spain have ceased to pay account charges, of which 250'000 (some 11 percent) are from the Levante-Balearic region. In addition, the bank has identified another potential group of 200'000 clients in this region who will also be able to benefit from the new strategy just by having a mortgage, salary or pension paid into an account, or a pension plan with Santander. Santander manages 20'625 million euros in the regions of Valencia, Murcia and the Balearics with a staff of more that 2'000 employees and a total of 342 branches. In 2005 Santander opened 23 offices in this region. In 2006 it is expected to open 51 new branches, bringing its total to 393.