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46.8753

Frequently Asked Questions -
Complaints about Banks

Complaints about Banks

These frequently asked questions explain the HKMA’s role in handling banking complaints and what to do if you have a complaint.  Click here to watch the related animation video.

The HKMA’s role in handling banking complaints

1. What is the role of the HKMA in handling banking complaints? [Answer]

How to deal with a banking complaint

2. I am not happy with my bank.  Who should I complain to? [Answer]

3. Who should I contact in the bank? [Answer]

4. Can the HKMA help me? [Answer]

5. What if I am seeking financial compensation? [Answer]

6. How should I make my complaint to the HKMA? [Answer]

7. Can I make a complaint to the HKMA by telephone? [Answer]

8. Will the HKMA fill out the complaint form for me? [Answer]

How does the HKMA handle a banking complaint?

9. What will the HKMA do upon receipt of my complaint? [Answer]

10. What happens next? [Answer]

11. What if I am not satisfied with the bank’s reply? [Answer]

12. Will the HKMA assess the bank’s reply? [Answer]

13. Can I contact the case officer of my complaint directly? [Answer]

14. Is the HKMA’s assessment final? [Answer]

15. What if I think that the HKMA has not handled my banking complaint properly?  [Answer]

16. What if I want to make a complaint against a staff member of the HKMA? [Answer]

17. What is the HKMA's policy on personal data? [Answer]

Complaints about Banks

 

1: What is the role of the HKMA in handling banking complaints?

The HKMA is the government authority responsible for promoting the general stability and effective working of the banking system.  The HKMA supervises licensed banks, restricted licence banks and deposit-taking companies (collectively referred to as banks).  The HKMA expects banks to take reasonable steps to handle complaints fairly, consistently and promptly.

The information received by the HKMA in handling a complaint assists us in identifying issues of supervisory or disciplinary concern that require follow-up action, including opening an investigation and considering supervisory and disciplinary actions.   

Please note, however, that the HKMA cannot interfere with a bank’s commercial decisions, adjudicate or intervene in a dispute between a bank and its customer or order a bank to pay compensation.

 

2: I am not happy with my bank.  Who should I complain to?

You may make a complaint to the HKMA in relation to any services, including general banking, investment and insurance services, provided by a bank.  You are encouraged to make a formal complaint to the bank first in order to give it a chance to resolve your complaint at an early stage.  Many complaints arise from a misunderstanding or a mismatch of expectations and they can often be resolved after you have talked to the bank.

 

3: Who should I contact in the bank?

Each bank has designated an officer to handle complaints.  Please visit the HKMA’s webpage www.hkma.gov.hk and go to “Complaints about Banks” – “List of banks’ contact persons for handling customer complaints”(PDF File, 586KB) for the contact details of these officers or call the HKMA at 2878 1378 to find out.  All telephone conversations between you and the HKMA may be recorded, irrespective of whether you dial in or we call you back so as to ensure our service quality.

 

4: Can the HKMA help me?

The HKMA can help you when: 

  • you have a complaint about banking products or services;
  • the bank refuses to handle your complaint;
  • the bank does not handle your complaint in a fair manner;
  • you have not received a final reply from the bank within 30 days (up to 60 days for complicated cases); or
  • the bank’s final reply does not fully address your complaint.

 

5: What if I am seeking financial compensation?

The HKMA does not have power to order banks to pay compensation. 

If your complaint is about a monetary dispute, you could consider using the mediation and arbitration services provided by the Financial Dispute Resolution Centre (FDRC).  The FDRC provides financial consumers with an independent and affordable avenue, as an alternative to litigation, for resolving some monetary disputes with financial institutions. 

You can visit the FDRC website at www.fdrc.org.hk or call its hotline at 3199 5199 to find out more. 

You can also consult a lawyer about your dispute.

 

6: How should I make my complaint to the HKMA?

The HKMA has a complaint form (PDF File, 183KB) that can be downloaded from the HKMA’s website or be sent to you by post or by fax upon your request.  Please fill out the complaint form as thoroughly and accurately as possible and return it to the HKMA.  This will allow the HKMA to handle your complaint promptly by informing us of what your complaint is about and giving us the necessary consent to handle your complaint on your behalf.  Please note that the HKMA may need to disclose the information you have given to us (including your personal data when necessary) to the bank and other third parties for purposes related to the handling of your complaint.

When you have completed the complaint form, you can deliver it to the HKMA in person or send it to us by post, email, or fax.  The relevant contact information is set out at the end of the complaint form.

  

7: Can I make a complaint to the HKMA by telephone?

To avoid any misunderstanding, the HKMA requires that you fill out our complaint form (PDF File, 183KB) and provide it to the HKMA. 

 

8: Will the HKMA fill out the complaint form for me?

The HKMA will not complete a complaint form for complainants. 

The HKMA will provide assistance to persons with disability who are not able to fill out the complaint form without assistance.  Please call 2878 1378 for an appointment at our office.  An HKMA staff member will meet with the person with disability and provide assistance to complete the complaint form. 

 

9: What will the HKMA do upon receipt of my complaint?

After the HKMA receives a duly completed complaint form, the HKMA will send an acknowledgement of receipt within 7 days.

If your complaint form is incomplete, the HKMA may call or write to you to obtain the missing information.  An incomplete complaint form may affect our handling of your complaint.

 

10: What happens next?

After the HKMA acknowledges receipt of your complaint, the HKMA will review your complaint and inform you in writing, normally within 7 days, as to how the HKMA will handle it.

For example, after our review, the HKMA may refer your complaint to the bank for its handling.  In such a case, the HKMA will instruct the bank to handle your complaint properly and to provide you with a detailed reply within 30 days* in response to your allegations.  The HKMA will also ask the bank to send the HKMA a copy of its reply to you for the HKMA’s assessment.

Please visit the HKMA’s website and go to “Complaints about Banks” to find the flowchart (PDF File, 190KB) on how the HKMA handles complaints.

* Up to 60 days is allowed for more complicated cases.  However, the bank should provide you with an interim reply within 30 days explaining why a longer period is required.

 

11: What if I am not satisfied with the bank’s reply?

If you are not satisfied with the bank’s reply to you, you may, within 30 days after receipt of the bank’s reply, write to the HKMA or contact the HKMA at 2878 1378 and tell the HKMA the reasons why you are not satisfied with the bank’s reply to you.  The HKMA will consider whether to provide your reasons to the bank and ask it to give you a further reply. 

 

12: Will the HKMA assess the bank’s reply?

The HKMA will assess the bank’s reply to you to ensure that the bank has addressed your complaint properly.  If the bank does not properly address your complaint in its final reply, the HKMA may require the bank to give you a further reply to address your complaint. 

If our assessment identifies supervisory concerns (e.g. the bank appears to have breached our supervisory guidelines or the Code of Banking Practice) or disciplinary concerns (e.g. there appears to have been misconduct on the part of the bank or its staff), the HKMA may follow up with the bank or open a case for investigation.  The HKMA may take disciplinary action where there are grounds for doing so (e.g. where an investigation reveals misconduct by a relevant individual).  In other cases, the HKMA may refer the complaint to other relevant regulators or enforcement agencies for them to consider taking further action.

In any event, the HKMA will let you know in writing in due course whether the HKMA proposes to take further action.  If the handling of your complaint cannot for any reason be completed within a reasonable time, the HKMA will give you a brief update on the progress every six months.  If the HKMA decides not to take any further action, the HKMA will endeavour to provide you with the reasons.  However, please note that the HKMA and its staff members are subject to secrecy obligations under the Banking Ordinance with respect to information obtained in the course of exercising the HKMA’s functions.  For this reason, the HKMA may not be able to provide you with information about its assessments, investigations or any actions taken.

 

13: Can I contact the case officer of my complaint directly?

To effectively handle your enquiries, the HKMA asks that you call our hotline at 2878 1378. 

Our hotline staff will handle your enquiry in the most appropriate manner.  If your enquiry relates to matters that our hotline staff can handle (e.g. progress of your case or details of our complaint handling process), they will respond to your enquiry immediately.  If your enquiry concerns other matters in relation to your case, our hotline staff will take the details of your enquiry and refer them to the responsible case officer for follow up where appropriate.

The HKMA appreciates your understanding that this arrangement is for the benefit of all complainants.  Managing our resources in this way allows the HKMA not only to answer individual enquiries in the most effective manner but also to maintain an efficient and consistent service for all complainants. 

 

14: Is the HKMA’s assessment final? 

Not every assessment will result in the HKMA taking further action (e.g. if the complaint relates to a purely commercial matter or the bank has handled the complaint properly or the complaint is not substantiated in our view).  The HKMA’s assessment is made on the basis of the information on hand and is final.  However, if you have new information to support your complaint, you may provide such information to the HKMA in writing.  In such a case, the HKMA will evaluate whether to take any further action with regard to your complaint after reviewing the information you have submitted.  You will be informed of the HKMA’s review outcome.   

In any event, the HKMA’s assessment will not affect your legal rights and you can, if you wish, further pursue your complaint through other avenues, such as civil proceedings.

 

15: What if I think that the HKMA has not handled my banking complaint properly?

If you are not satisfied with the way in which the HKMA has handled your banking complaint, you may write to the Enforcement and AML Department of the HKMA (at 55/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong) specifying the reasons why you are not satisfied.  The HKMA will handle the matter in the most appropriate manner under our established procedures and will inform you of the result. 

If you are still not satisfied, you may consider making a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman, Hong Kong.  Please refer to the Ombudsman’s website to find out more about the role of the Ombudsman (www.ombudsman.hk).

 

16: What if I want to make a complaint against a staff member of the HKMA?

You may write to the Enforcement and AML Department of the HKMA (at 55/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong) marking the letter “Complaint against HKMA staff” and specifying your dissatisfaction with the staff member and the reasons.  The HKMA will handle your complaint in the most appropriate manner under our established procedures and will inform you of the result.

 

17: What is the HKMA's policy on personal data?

Please refer to the HKMA’s Privacy Policy Statement.  Information provided in relation to a complaint will be used for the purposes stated in part 5 of the complaint form (PDF File, 183KB).  It is recommended that you read part 5 of the complaint form before making a banking complaint to the HKMA.

Last revision date: 7 April 2017
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