By Maravi Post reporter First Merchant Bank says it will next week start retrenching some members of staff after it closes two of its branches and merge some of them in what the bank says business rationalization. In a statement, the bank says all those who will lose their jobs will receive their retrenchment packages. “First Merchant Bank wants to create more efficiencies by utilizing available resources,” says the bank in the letter. The branches earmarked for closure include Lujeri and Blantyre market. However, the bank has not said how many people are expected to lose their jobs and officials refused to comment on the matter. This comes at a time when Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has been saying that the economy is more robust than ever before whilst economists say the country is facing a slump economy. Several banks have folded up which include Inde Bank which was sold to National Bank and state run Malawi Savings Bank which was sold to business tycoon Thom Mpinganjira.