December 21 - Maritime & Merchant Bank (M&M) - a Norwegian headquartered specialist bank for the shipping and offshore sector - has officially opened for business.

"We are very pleased to be able to start serving our customers," said M&M's ceo Halvor Sveen. "We are fortunate to have supportive owners and stakeholders, in both our founding fathers and new investors. They have made it possible to realize the plans for a new specialised bank."

Sveen added: "The sustained tight credit market for the maritime sector has left many companies owners seeking financing with few alternatives. We believe M&M can fill a need for a specialised bank with experience in shipping and offshore that is able to contribute to good solutions for our customers."

From its main office in Oslo, M&M will service the global maritime markets and provide secured lending in the form of first priority term loans.

HLPFI reported in October 2013 that a trio of shipping, offshore and finance professionals based in Norway were planning to set up a new bank to focus on the funding requirements of owners and operators active in the global shipping and offshore industries.