10 July 2020
Abstract: Financial inclusion denotes banks’ provision of basic financial services at affordable costs to those that need and qualify for them. The opposite is financial exclusion, which is when banks deny financial services to customers that they consider as posing high risks for money laundering and terrorist financing, giving rise to the term “de-risking” or “de-banking”. A litany of financial exclusion reports impelled the Hong Kong Money Authority (HKMA) to issue a circular to banks warning against their practices of de-risking on 8 September 2016. Since then, financial inclusion has become a topic of public interests. The article contains nuanced analyses on the “Bank Account Opening Survey”, first published by the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) in September 2016. Thereafter, the HKMA established a dedicated webpage on the topic of bank account opening. The HKICS also conducted a second survey on bank account opening that was published in July 2018. As a result, comments on the HKICS’ bank account opening surveys will consist of two separate parts, as provided below, which are intended to complement each other. Click here to read the full article.