The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said banks may temporarily lift the 30-year limit on mortgage loan tenures for customers on a case-by-case basis while the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation launched a principal moratorium allowing homeowners to repay interests only.
The HKMA said it convened a special teleconference with the banking sector to explore supporting measures for small and medium-sized enterprises, and all participating banks have or shortly will introduce measures to relieve personal financial difficulties.
HSBC has extended its mortgage loan principal moratorium for personal customers and is offering as much as HK$30,000 in relief loans for customers in the airline, hotel, catering and retail industries with a minimum monthly income of HK$5,000.
Citibank, meanwhile, announced to offer commercial bank clients a one-month maturity extension on existing and new import trade loans.
Hang Seng Bank (0011), as well as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) also introduced a first-year guarantee fee for the application of the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme.
Hong Kong Trade Development Council Chairman Peter Lam Kin-ngok expects the impact of the virus to be higher than that of SARS in 2003, further weakening demand in retail and catering and affecting the job market in the first half this year.
In other news, DBS Bank's net profit last year rose 13.62 percent to a record S$6.39 billion (HK$35.72 billion), with net profit from Hong Kong rising 11 percent to a record HK$8.2 billion.
Manulife Financial (0945) reported a 2019 net income of C$5.6 billion (HK$32.8 billion), rising 17 percent year-on-year, with Manulife Hong Kong reporting its core earnings up 26 percent to HK$5.8 billion.