The authorization criteria for authorized institutions ensure that only fit and proper institutions are entrusted with public deposits. These criteria are clearly set out in the Seventh Schedule to the Banking Ordinance. The HKMA conducts periodic reviews of the authorization criteria and, when necessary, introduces amendments to reflect the changing needs of the regulatory environment and to meet new international standards. The HKMA has also set out its interpretation of each of the minimum authorization criteria in a Guide to Authorization.

Under the Banking Ordinance, the HKMA is the licensing authority responsible for the authorization, suspension and revocation of all three types of authorized institutions. To provide checks and balances in the authorisation procedures, the HKMA is required under the Ordinance to consult with the Financial Secretary on important authorization decisions, such as suspension and revocation. The Chief Executive-in-Council is the appellate body for hearing appeals against decisions made by the HKMA.

An overseas bank which does not qualify for a full banking licence can apply for authorization to operate as a restricted licence bank or deposit-taking company in Hong Kong. Furthermore, Hong Kong places no barrier to overseas banks operating locally in the territory, whether the transactions are conducted in Hong Kong dollars or other currencies

Under the Deposit Protection Scheme Ordinance, every bank in Hong Kong is a member of the Scheme unless it is otherwise exempted by the Hong Kong Deposit Protection Board. A member of the Scheme has to observe the requirements stipulated in the Ordinance. These include payment of contributions, submission of statistical returns or other information requested by the Board and compliance with the rules and guidelines issued by the Board under the Ordinance.