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Bank Merger

July 16, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's state-run Regional Development Banks (RDBs) are to merge, getting access to foreign funds, and diversify from agriculture into other areas like tourism and lend in the former north-east war zone, officials said.

The single entity created from the merger will help reduce costs and improve operating efficiency.

"Operating as single development bank, donor agencies are now looking at RDB positively," Rathnasiri Siriwardane, chief executive at the merged RDB told LBO at a media conference, Friday.

He said the government treasury on behalf of RDB is negotiating with funding agencies to develop infrastructure and grant soft loans to develop rural businesses.

"The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank might contribute for infrastructure development.

"They didn’t consider that at a regional (development) bank level. With this merger we will be going for an amalgamated IT (information technology) system and be able to share costs like advertizing."

RDB was formed by merging regional development banks of the island's regions of Rajarata, Ruhuna, Wayamba, Uva, Kadurata and Sabaragamuwa.

The bank is jointly owned by the Sri Lankan treasury, and state-owned Bank of Ceylon, Peop

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