Hong Kong bankers have held talks with their counterparts in Shanghai, hoping to increase information exchanges on credit cards and mortgages. Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, on a visit with members of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, said topics discussed reflected rising credit-card defaults and the steep drop in property prices which had left mortgages in the SAR with negative equity. 'We're looking to see if there is scope for banks to share a lot more information, not only negative information but also positive,' Mr Yam said. He said if there were more information about credit-card applicants 'individual banks will be in a much better position to decide whether to issue the cards'. Out of about 400,000 outstanding mortgages, about 65,000 were in negative equity with this figure rising to a possible 81,000 if second mortgages were counted, Mr Yam said. While negative equity was not a major concern for mainland banks today, Mr Yam appeared to suggest it could become an issue in the future. Mainland banks are eager to expand their credit-card operations and mortgage lending, two promising business areas. The group also met officials of the People's Bank of China to discuss the possibility of lowering asset requirements for banks entering the mainland market. Hong Kong banks have been eager to see a drop in the requirement of US$20 billion in assets. 'We also talked about . . . thresholds. We hope after China joins the World Trade Organisation, [it] can adapt . . . and reconsider the thresholds.'