China’s Banking Regulator Commits to Maintenance of Financial Services During Coronavirus Outbreak

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China’s top banking regulator has committed to the effective maintenance of financial services during efforts by authorities to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

On 27 January the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) issued the “Notice on Strengthening Banking and Insurance Sector Financial Services, and Cooperation in the Effective Performance of Work to Prevent and Control the Infectious Coronavirus Pneumonia” (关于加强银行业保险业金融服务 配合做好新型冠状病毒感染的肺炎疫情防控工作的通知).

The Notice said that all banking and insurance institutions must employ their “full strength in assisting relevant departments and local governments in the prevention and control of the new coronavirus infectious pneumonia.”

Banking and insurance institutions must “expand the strength of staff illness checks…regularly implement disinfection and cleaning of counters and ATM’s, and strengthen the hygiene and disease prevention management of operating outlets and office sites,” as well as “appropriately adjust work plans and assessment requirements, and reduce staff concentrations and concentrated client visits.”

With regard to ensuring the provision of financial services, the Notice requires that all banking and insurance institutions “rationally arrange operating outlets and items, and ensure that basic financial services and key infrastructure operates stably.”

“With regard to temporary suspension of operations or adjustments to operating hours of outlets as a result of the impacts of the disease, explanations must be actively and effectively made, and replacement solution plans provided.”

The Notice further requires the “opening of green channels for financial services” and “all banks and insurance institutions further expanding support for disease-hit areas; reductions and exemptions from processing fees, simplification of procedures, and the opening of rapid channels.”

“Those demographics that have temporarily lost income sources as a result of the disease must be provided with appropriate preferences in terms of lending policies, and appropriate adjustments to housing mortgages, credit cards and other personal lending arrangements, and rational extensions of repayment terms.

“Customers who file insurance claims in relation to the coronavirus must receive preferential handling, appropriate expansion of liability scopes, and receive full payment.”

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