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Financial News: Hong Kong Banks Agree To Adopt Measures To

Hong Kong Banks Agree To Adopt Measures To Support Small Enterprises: HKMA

10/16/2019 - 10:12:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Hong Kong's banks agreed to take measures to support small and medium enterprises, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said Wednesday, as the economy likely slipped into a recession in the third quarter due to the adverse effect from the anti-government protests. Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam unveiled measures to make housing affordable to citizens after anti-government protests dragged the economy into a recession.

The economy has already slipped into a technical recession since the third quarter, Lam said. In the first half of 2019, the economy expanded 0.5 percent, the worst performance since the 2009 recession.

Late Monday, the HKMA reduced the countercyclical capital buffer ratio for banks to 2 percent from 2.5 percent. The banks agreed to make use of the released funds to boost lending to .

The nine banks who met with the BoJ agreed that they will "proactively consider allowing customers [SMEs] to extend or reschedule their repayment period, including making use of the recently introduced principal moratorium measure under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS), to lessen the cash flow pressure faced by SMEs."

Banks have already reduced the guarantee fee and offered interest rebate under the scheme, and have taken measure to strengthen internal communication. For the real estate sector, banks have offered arrangement such as rental reduction or rent-free period. Further, banks said they will no reassess the collateral value and adjust credit limits.

The HKMA also said that banks need not categorize a loan with overdue payments as non-peforming nor make any provision.

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