Monday, February 24, 2020
Martin Hennecke

Most banks still operating, HKMA chief says
Over 70 percent of local bank branches are still providing services to the public, while ATMs across the city are functioning as usual, said Eddie Yue Wai-man, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The Hong Kong economy has been shrinking since the middle of last year, with the catering, retail, and tourism industries are bearing the brunt of the public health crisis, Yue wrote in his blog. A number of banks have activated contingency plans and special work arrangements, including the suspension of services in some of their branches, which have inevitably affected the public to varying degrees, he added. Despite some volatility in the stock market, both the Hong Kong dollar exchange rate and interbank interest rates have remained stable, and Hong Kong is fully capable of rising up to challenges, including the current outbreak, he said. Meanwhile, more banks have introduced relief measures, with Dah Sing Banking (2356) launching as much as six months' principal moratorium for property mortgage loans until the end of June. The bank said it has extended its principal moratorium to non-franchised public bus loans, and eligible borrowers from retail, catering, logistics and tourism sectors can apply to defer principal repayment for up to 12 months if renewed for a second six-month period.
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