February 6, 2020 / 10:46 AM / 13 days ago

Hong Kong central bank asks lenders to aid virus-hit borrowers

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s central bank said the spreading coronavirus is hurting the city’s economy and told the city’s commercial banks to adopt a “sympathetic stance” when dealing with customers facing financial stress.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said in a Thursday circular that banks should, when prudent, favorably consider troubled borrowers’ requests for temporary relief.

The HKMA added that some banks were considering reducing fees for credit card borrowing and restructuring repayment schedules for loans, and urged other banks to consider similar action.

Hong Kong’s economy contracted for the first time in a decade last year amid violent anti-government protests and the U.S.-China trade war, official data showed this week.

Reporting by Alun John and Noah Sin; Editing by Alex Richardson

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