BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Loans issued to firms engaged in containing the novel coronavirus outbreak came in at over 953 billion yuan (about 135.8 billion U.S. dollars) as of Feb. 26, the country's banking regulator told a news conference Thursday.
China will offer greater credit support for anti-epidemic battle, said Xiao Yuanqi, chief risk officer of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), adding that regulator has instructed banks and insurers to try their best to finance firms in areas such as health and disease prevention as well as the construction of public health infrastructure.
"As the country's micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises restarted operation, CBIRC's priority was to beef up financial support for them," Xiao said.
Small firms in catering, tourism and logistics sectors will be given priority as they were among the hardest hit by the outbreak, while for inclusive small and micro enterprises in Hubei Province and its surrounding virus-stricken areas, the lending rate has been slashed by 0.5 percentage points, according to Xiao.
The CBIRC also called for banks and insurers to improve service efficiency via innovative service modes, more online services and video connections for clients like the middle-aged and elderly.
China decided to roll out a set of strong financial policies at the State Council's executive meeting Tuesday, encouraging financial institutions to provisionally defer loan payments and increase lending at concessional rates for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as part of the effort to help them overcome temporary difficulties.