Businesses can't grow without the required capital. But getting access to capital can be a very real pain. It is to fulfill this need of gaining enough capital, that merchant banks were first established. Though they were primary only formed to help out merchants, it is no longer so. Throughout centuries, the services of merchant banks have grown to include a great many industries. The core of the banking though remains the same - they help with businesses with their banking needs. But now they have also included consultancy services. Businesses that feel the need to have advice on marketing, finance, management and legal matters could easily approach merchant banks for assistance. These banks have advisors that now help business with a variety of problems that any business would at one time or another face. They provide their guidance for a set fee.
Their guidance includes a variety of things. When a business is just starting up, they help to seed it with enough capital for it to be sustainable. When the business is about to expand, the bank ensures they raise enough capital for the expansion to be a successful venture. If the business needs to be modernized, they offer suggestions on how and in which manner it can be done, and the financial repercussions that would follow it. If a business needs to be restructured, the banks provide sound advice. When a long-held business has grown sick, they step in to revive it to profit by way of long-term loans. In an overall manner, the banks can also help businesses to buy and sell stock in the stock market. Usually the bank determines the stocks to be released and the time at which they're to be released. Regardless of which problem businesses have, it had enough experience to guide them. Most of the time though, they tend to pick out larger businesses. But they also help out businesses that are only just starting out.
At times, due to their range of services, these services are also called wholesale banks. Generally, most merchant banks have an area of speciality, things like underwriting and international finance. You'll find that such banks also have both retail and merchant divisions, in an effort to branch out. Retail banking, being so dissimilar to merchant banking, is usually held as a separate division though. Merchant banks are usually the premise of businesses and large corporates, what with their area of expertise being business and financial management.