Financial Times reported Thursday that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is putting pressure on HSBC Standard Chartered, and Bank of China, to accept crypto exchanges as customers. The report was based on three sources with knowledge of this matter, and a letter.

The Financial Times reported that the HKMA sent a letter to banks on April 27 stating, “Due diligence should not create undue burden”, especially “for those who are setting up an office here in Hong Kong to explore the opportunities,”

Hong Kong is taking steps to become a global crypto hub. The Securities and Futures Commission began accepting applications on June 1, for licenses to operate crypto trading platforms. A Hong Kong legislator also invited Coinbase register in the area. Hong Kong’s ambitions coincides with U.S. regulators’ lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, the two largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

In an email sent to CoinDesk, a spokesperson for the HKMA said: “We engage in dialogues on a variety of topics with various stakeholders.” It is not our practice to confirm, deny, or comment on these meetings.

HKMA asked HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China in the UK, at a meeting held last month, why they did not accept crypto exchanges as customers, reports the FT. These three banks are some of the biggest in the world. Bank of China, a Chinese commercial bank owned by the majority of its government, is one of the largest in the world.

“HKMA encouraged banks to be fearless,” FT quoted a source with knowledge of the conversation. “There’s a resistance to the conventional banking mindset… We are seeing some resistance by senior executives at traditional bank.”

The HKMA spokesperson said that banks in Hong Kong should “attempt to meet the legitimate needs of licensed [Virtual Asset Service Providers]…and provide the required banking service.”

The HKMA has repeatedly stressed the importance of banks managing individual customer risks based on a risk-based approach, according to the spokesperson. She also noted that in April, the HKMA released a Circular to give banks further guidance regarding the provision of banking service to corporate clients, including crypto firms.

The relationship between banks and payment settlements has been a difficult one. In India, payment processors blocked local crypto exchanges last year. Recently, reports emerged that Australia’s banking system was blocking payments to crypto exchanges. Hong Kong does not have a ban on crypto-clients, but banks are reluctant to work with the industry out of fear of legal action in the event of scam.

A spokesperson for HSBC told CoinDesk that “we have an active dialogue with virtual asset players in order to exchange views and opinions on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, account opening.” “We are very involved in the policies and development of this new industry in Hong Kong.”

Standard Chartered’s spokesperson told CoinDesk they have “regular dialog” with regulators about different topics.

Bank of China didn’t immediately respond to CoinDesk requests for comment.

UPDATE (15 June, 07:01 UTC) Added comments from Standard Chartered and HSBC spokespersons.

UPDATE (15.06.10:19 UTC: HKMA spokesperson’s comments added.

Sam Reynolds and Sandali Handagama edited the book.