Deep cleaning, face masks, services suspension – HK banks respond to coronavirus

Maria Nikolova

Banks operating in Hong Kong have closed temporarily some of their branches, with those remaining operational implementing enhanced sanitization measures.

More than 15 banks, such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and China CITIC, have announced they are making adjustments to their Hong Kong operations in response to the new coronavirus.

Standard Chartered Hong Kong said that, in view of the latest developments of the novel coronavirus with consideration to ensuring the health and safety of clients and employees and maintaining the availability of its banking services, it would be suspending banking services at 18 of its branches with effect from 3 February 2020 (Monday). The bank has enhanced its cleaning and hygiene measures including deep cleaning and regular sanitisation of common areas and frequently touched facilities such as door handles and handrails. The bank has also reminded all employees to maintain personal hygiene and wear face masks.

China CITIC Bank International Limited announced temporary service suspension at 9 branches from 3 February 2020 until further notice as a means to minimize the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus in the community and safeguarding the safety of customers and staff.

Due to the increasing spread and potential outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, OCBC Wing Hang Bank announced three of its branches will be temporarily closed from 3 February 2020 until further notice as a step-up measure to protect customers and staff. In addition, face masks are distributed to all frontline staff and to other support staff where necessary. Hand sanitisers are placed in offices and branches. Staff and customers are required to wear surgical face masks at meetings and maintain personal hygiene especially washing hands frequently. Cleaning regime in common areas such as the branch lobbies, lifts, corridors and toilets have been stepped up.

HSBC announced that 24 service outlets will be suspended temporarily from Monday, 3 February 2020 until further notice. Operation hours and services available at all other outlets will remain unchanged. This is a precautionary measure for contingency purposes to safeguard the health and safety of employees and customers in light of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus situation in Hong Kong, while balancing the need to ensure normal banking services to the community, the bank explained.

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited notified its customers and the general public that in order to prevent and counter the spread of the novel infectious disease in the community, 49 branches will suspend services from 1 February (Saturday) until further notice. Except for these branches, more than 140 BOCHK branches across the city will maintain normal services.

Detailed information about the latest developments can be found on the banks’ websites or on the dedicated page of the Hong Kong Association of Banks.

Read this next

Institutional FX

Euronext reports double-digit growth in FX volume

Pan-European exchange, Euronext has reported a 10 percent rebound in the average daily volume on its spot foreign exchange market. The ADV figure stood at $19.6 billion in January 2022, which is up from December’s $18 billion.

Digital Assets

Voyager subpoenas FTX’s inner circle over Alameda loan

Bankrupt crypto broker Voyager Digital, represented by law firm Kirkland & Ellis, is seeking court approval to subpoena Sam Bankman-Fried’s inner circle, as well as Alameda Research’s former executives.

Retail FX

AvaTrade seals sponsorship deal with F1’s Aston Martin team

Dublin-based forex broker AvaTrade today announced that it has concluded a sponsorship deal with Formula One’s Aston Martin Cognizant team that entails sponsorship rights and other marketing benefits.

Executive Moves

M4Markets onboards Invaxa CEO Marios Antoniou as COO

Seychelles-regulated brokerage firm M4Markets has appointed Marios Antoniou, who has a colorful career within the foreign exchange industry, in the capacity of its Chief Operations Officer.

Digital Assets

GK8 now allows clients to control their digital assets as they would their fiat

“As the institutional market is increasingly turning to self custody, our policy engine empowers them to automate transactions, approvals, and even crucial workflows, while providing the highest degree of security, consistency, governance and control.”

Digital Assets

Retail CBDCs in the UK: “Welcomed” by CryptoUK and R3, but “Dystopian” for ETC Group

“At this stage, we judge it likely that the digital pound will be needed in the future. It is too early to decide whether to introduce the digital pound, but we are convinced preparatory work is justified”, said the BoE and HM Treasury.

Institutional FX

Centroid taps Iress API to provide retail brokers with real-time market data

“It has always been a challenge to have an efficient, elegant solution for market data and order execution for retail brokers, but with Iress we have found absolutely the right partner to add to our client offering.”

Digital Assets

Ramp launches FCA-approved off-ramp product, onboards Brave, Trust Wallet, Ledger

“To obtain and maintain our FCA registration, we must meet and operate within their strict anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards. This is a huge achievement for us, as compliance is a cornerstone of our business and what we stand for.”

Institutional FX

State Street launches FIX API for Fund Connect ETF platform

“Expanding from proprietary APIs to the FIX industry standard will bring us closer to our goal of 100% digital interactions. This is another example of innovations we’ve brought to our operating model as we celebrate 30 years of servicing ETFs since the launch of SPY.”