Merkur Cooperative Bank is founded on the idea of conscious handling of money, and on criteria that include environmental, social and ethical aspects in addition to financial considerations. Merkur pursues a situation where the individual, based on his own insight, meets the needs of others in a dignified way.
This leads to the following main working areas/objectives:
The first steps towards the founding of Merkur Cooperative Bank were taken in 1982 with the forming of a credit and loan association. In 1985 Merkur merged with another independent initiative to form the Co-op Bank, and received a banking license. Merkur opened its first office in Aalborg in 1985. In 1992 it established a branch in Copenhagen (which became head office in 2004) and is nowadays present in the four major cities of Denmark. In addition, Merkur has limited activities in North Germany, in cooperation with Trion Geldberatungsgenossenschaft, and in Finland.
In addition, Caroline Panum is Head of Human Resource and Client Relations, in close cooperation with the Board of Management, and each branch has its own Branch Manager.
Merkur´s main objective is to give and facilitate financial advice and financing to profit making enterprises within sustainable production and not-for-profit institutions and associations within cultural and social fields. Therefore, the main part of Merkur Cooperative Bank´s combined loan finance projects are in the environmental, social and cultural sectors. As a secondary activity, Merkur approves loans and arranges mortgages for private customers. Merkur also provides other financial services, including savings and current accounts (available with Visa and/or debit cards), payment services, webbank, and pensioner’s and children’s savings accounts, as well as a full range of financial services for business customers. Furthermore, Merkur places great emphasis upon transparency in banking. Details of all loans in the three core sectors are published on Merkur´s website so that information about how the customer´s money is working can be seen in the public domain. Merkur also publishes (in cooperation with Cultura Sparebank in Norway) the magazine ‘Pengevirke’ four times a year, in which the activities of Merkur and its´ customers are described in more detail.
In 2009 Merkur established a separate entity, Merkur Development Loans Ltd in cooperation with a Danish state investment fund, IFU.
The aim is to give loans to SMEs and cooperatives in developing countries in order to promote sustainability and provide financing on fair conditions.