First Steps

The bank
quote s CEO Nihal Jayawardene declined to give the quantum required, but said they were on the look out to private investments.

rnrnMERC Bank plans to achieve a break even by mid 2003 and current performance is in line with the target, Jayawardene told Lanka Business Online in an interview.

rnrnThe bank is expecting to record a net loss of around Rs. 80 mn for 2002, after embarking on a branch and ATM expansion drive to boost its retail deposit base.

rnrnMERC is looking at opening two to four branches and a further four ATMs later this year.

rnrnldblquote We are currently focusing mainly on trade finance facilities due to resource constraints. Once we establish a stable retail deposit base, we will venture into term lending for which there is a demand from our existing customers
dblquote , Jayarwardene said.

rnrnDespite maintaining a very low-key operation, MERC bank
quote s deposit base has grown by Rs. 369 mn to Rs. 600 mn during the year 2001. It plans to further expand this base by intr