A co-ordinated campaign by banks to come to the aid of homeowners caught in a negative equity trap appears unlikely after a meeting of the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB). While individual member banks have begun issuing cautiously worded statements about their willingness to consider appeals to refinance such loans up to 100 per cent of their market value, their industry body warned 'a lot remains to be considered'. Speaking after a routine fortnightly meeting, HKAB chairman Peter Wong Tung-shun said: 'The important thing is that we need to discuss the thing in its totality. It is not just a matter of 100 per cent. That's not valid.' Mr Wong disputed claims by Lee Wing-tat, vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, that up to 300,000 Hong Kong homeowners may be involved. Mr Lee also said many homeowners were paying prime plus 2 per cent on their housing loans, while best lending rates were as low as prime minus 2.75 per cent. The HKMA had asked banks for data on the loans and this had been provided, Mr Wong said. 'I'm not so sure that anybody could have got the data so quickly,' he added. Mr Wong said he would not publicly reveal the data. An amendment to loan-value guidelines by the HKMA this week has allowed banks to lend up to 100 per cent of the new market value of properties in negative equity. While the HKAB is planning further discussions with the HKMA, individual banks have begun responding to the changes. HSBC general manager Raymond Or Ching-fai said: 'The bank treats each case on its own merits, taking customers' relationship and repayment abilities into account.' Hang Seng Bank said it was willing to discuss refinancing such loans and would do so where possible at rates below prime. Bank of East Asia said it would make such loans and pricing would be announced soon. Citic Ka Wah said that while its best mortgage rate was prime minus 2.25 per cent, it would refinance negative equity loans at 1 per cent to 0.75 per cent above the best rate.