The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has passed the guidelines to motivate merger of banks and financial institutions. The central bank board of directors approved the guidelines that gives high priority to voluntary mergers. “There is no provision in the guideline that can force merger. But there is a provision whereby the NRB can give strong advice to the banks for merger,” said an official. The guideline lays down three-step approval for merger. Initial approval will be given upon receiving applications, followed by agreement in principle and final approval. The guideline also spells out facilities such as single customer credit limit, rural credit, branch expansion, upgrading, credit-deposit ratio and so on.