[1/3] An attendant walks outside the entrance to Hong Kong Monetary Authority in Hong Kong, China November 10, 2015. Picture taken November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

June 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's banking regulator said on Thursday it had, in April, asked lenders operating in the region to try and meet the business needs of licensed crypto exchanges, responding to a report saying banks were under pressure to take such exchanges on as clients.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority's (HKMA) comments were in response to a Financial Times report which said lenders including HSBC (HSBA.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) were facing pressure from Hong Kong's central bank to take on crypto exchanges as clients.

In its bid to emerge as a global crypto hub, Hong Kong has been pulling out all stops, from courting mainland China crypto firms to floating plans of testing a digital dollar in its mortgage market.

The UK-based lenders, and the Bank of China were questioned by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority last month on why crypto exchanges were not being accepted as clients, the report added.

The HKMA, in a letter to lenders on April 27, said diligence on potential customers should not "create undue burden", especially "for those setting up an office in Hong Kong."

Standard Chartered said it was in regular dialogue with regulators on different subjects, while HSBC said that it remained engaged on policies and developments in Hong Kong's nascent crypto industry.

Hong Kong's push for banks to accept crypto clients comes at a time when countries such as the U.S. are doubling down on crypto exchanges, with the U.S. affiliate of Binance halting dollar deposits last week after the Securities and Exchange Commission asked a court to freeze its assets.

Reporting by Rahat Sandhu, Nilutpal Timsina and Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Nivedita Bhattacharjee

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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