HSBC to cut fees, offer rebates to aid struggling small HK firms

August 28, 2019 16:28
Riot police officers stand outside a HSBC branch in Hong Kong during an anti-extradition bill protest on Aug 11. The bank has announced some measures to help SMEs in the wake of the social unrest in the city. Photo: Reuters

Banking giant HSBC will offer rebates and fee reductions for small and medium-sized companies in Hong Kong to help the firms cope with the challenging economic environment. 

HSBC said on Wednesday that it will offer a six-month interest rate rebate on loans approved under official financing and loan guarantee schemes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and fee subsidies for applications for the financing guarantee scheme, Reuters reports.

Also, there will a cut in transaction fees for businesses using HSBC's mobile payment service. 

The bank did not quantify how much the measures will cost it. 

While HSBC offered fee subsidies for the financing guarantee scheme last year, its larger support packages for SMEs have come during times of significant economic stress for Hong Kong, Reuters noted.

The last time the bank launched a package of SME support measures was in 2009 following the global financial crisis.

The latest move came as Hong Kong is on the verge of its first recession in a decade, weighed down by the US-China trade war and months of anti-government protests in the city. 

SMEs account for over 98 percent of Hong Kong enterprises and around 45 percent of local employment, noted Terence Chiu, HSBC’s head of commercial banking in Hong Kong.

“We have spent time listening to our customers and have heard their voices at this difficult time,” Chiu said in a statement, without referring directly to Hong Kong's ongoing social unrest.

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