Hong Kong bankers have asked mainland regulators for a flexible interest-rate regime so they may offer fixed deposits with variable maturities when yuan business starts in January. A group of 160 bankers met six representatives of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) in Hong Kong yesterday in a seminar organised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to discuss yuan business. According to Bank of East Asia China division head Raymond Yu Hok-keung, the PBOC was considering offering a fixed interest rate to the yuan settlement bank, which would then offer a fixed rate to Hong Kong participatory banks. But Hong Kong banks would like to see flexible interest rates so they could offer varying rates for yuan deposits of different sizes and maturities. PBOC director general of the international department Jin Qi, who led the central bank delegation, said the request would be studied. 'We will seriously consider the request of the Hong Kong bankers when we are back in China,' she said. Under an agreement signed in Beijing between the monetary authority and the PBOC, all licensed Hong Kong banks could offer four types of personal yuan services - credit card, deposit, remittance and exchange - from January. Bank of China (Hong Kong) deputy chief executive Zhu Chi reiterated that his bank was interested in acting as the yuan settlement bank, which would collect yuan deposits from other Hong Kong banks and return them to the PBOC. The bank would also like to offer yuan credit-card settlement and was negotiating with mainland card settlement agent China UnionPay, Mr Zhu said. He rejected speculation that Bank of China would have a monopoly on card settlement services, saying other commercial banks could negotiate with China UnionPay. 'The mainland regulations do not restrict China UnionPay from dealing with other Hong Kong banks,' he said.