Developer HKR International is talking to two banks about providing stand-by loans to purchasers of its residential project Siena in Discovery Bay as protection against unexpected lay-offs. Chan Chi-ming, general manager of HKR's marketing arm, Hong Kong Resort, said talks on the loan scheme were almost finished, pending some technical details. Under the scheme, the stand-by loans could be used to cover up to one year's mortgage instalments and could be drawn any time within five years, he said. Mr Chan said the interest rates for these loans would be lower than normal mortgage rates and the banks would not charge additional premiums on the loans. Although the loans could be used for any reason, the scheme aimed to ease homebuyers' concern over unexpected lay-offs, he said. Cheung Kong (Holdings) has introduced a similar stand-by loan scheme, but the loans have to be drawn in three years at an interest rate of prime rate plus one percentage point. Mr Chan said HKR had not received pre-sale consent for Siena, but expected to get it soon.