HSBC Bank has said it would extend HK$30bn ($3.9bn) of additional liquidity relief, to help struggling businesses ride out the coronavirus outbreak that has already killed one person and infected 36 others in Hong Kong.
HSBC joins other banks operating in Hong Kong that easing borrowing terms to help companies that are reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.
The relief measures include principal repayment moratorium for borrowers with commercial loans secured by property. Trade finance customers may qualify for overdraft of up to HK$10m for six months. This will be used to help with operational expenses, such as employee payroll and rent.
The initiative will also target taxi and public light bus operators.
In Hong Kong, the epidemic pommels an already bruised economy. Hong Kong’s retail sales fell for the 11th straight month in December, clobbered by months of anti-government protest.
HSBC and other banks are also considering relief for individual customers. “We are committed to supporting our customers and will introduce more initiatives that will provide near-term relief,” Diana Cesar, HSBC’s local chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Several relief efforts in Hong Kong and mainland China
HSBC becomes the seventh local lender to announce support for the relief efforts. Other banks—including BOC Hong Kong Holdings and Bank of East Asia—have announced similar measures to help individuals and businesses battered by the outbreak that has reduced spending and discouraged travel.
The city finance chief has called upon landlords to provide rental relief to struggling businesses.
“Our community needs every bit of help at this unprecedented time,” said HSBC’s Hong Kong chief executive Diana Cesar. “We are committed to supporting our customers and will introduce more initiatives that will provide near-term relief.”
Efforts in Hong Kong mirror similar initiatives in mainland China. There as well, both the local financial sector and global players (such as UBS and Julius Baer) are engaged in continuing relied efforts.