Mainland commercial banks have been ordered to give debtors in regions ravaged by the May 12 earthquake a reprieve of up to one year on loan repayments to help struggling families and businesses get back on their feet. According to a new document issued yesterday by the People's Bank of China, the mainland's central bank, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the banking industry watchdog, individual debtors will have until the end of June and corporate borrowers until the end of this year to repay outstanding debts or start renegotiating financing arrangements. The deadline for repayment of outstanding debts had already been extended once, until December 31, in accordance with a set of reconstruction financing guidelines issued in August by several central government agencies, including the central bank. Under the previous guidelines - called the 'Four Nos' - commercial banks could not force individual or corporate clients to pay overdue loans, nor could they impose penalty payments, report clients for bad borrowing practices or bar them from new loans before the deadline. The further extension of deadlines for loan repayments covers the same 51 counties and administrative districts in Sichuan , Shaanxi and Gansu that were hardest hit by the magnitude-8 quake, which left about 88,000 people dead or missing. The new reprieve has underscored the daunting task of rebuilding in quake-stricken areas, an effort authorities estimate could cost 1 trillion yuan (HK$1.13 trillion). The task is so great that the central government has turned to foreign lenders for the first time for much- needed capital to finance reconstruction efforts.