Issue of Guideline by the Monetary Authority in relation to Section 97(1) of the Banking Ordinance

Press Releases

29 Nov 2000

Issue of Guideline by the Monetary Authority in relation to Section 97(1) of the Banking Ordinance

The Monetary Authority (MA) today (29 November) issued a guideline to provide further guidance on the policy on the granting of specific consent for the use of banking names or descriptions by companies (or other persons) who are not banks licensed under the Banking Ordinance.

"The issue of this guideline is in response to an increase in the number of non-bank companies wishing to use "banking" names. While there may be no intent on the part of such companies to mislead the public, the use of such names has the potential to cause confusion and to blur the distinction between "bank" and "non-bank" companies. Names such as "ebank" and "cyberbank" fall into this category in today's context, " said an HKMA spokesperson.

"The MA wishes to remind members of the public that it is an offence under section 97(1) of the Banking Ordinance for any person, other than a bank licensed under the Banking Ordinance or an institution which is recognized as the central bank of the place in which it is incorporated, without the written consent of the MA:

  1. to use the word "bank" or any of its derivatives in English, or any translation thereof in any language or use the Chinese expression "ngan hong" (銀 行 ), or use the letters "b", "a", "n", "k" in that order, in the description or name under which such person is carrying on business in Hong Kong; or
  2. to make any representation in any bill head, letter paper, notice, advertisement or in any other manner whatsoever that such person is a bank or is carrying on banking business in Hong Kong," the spokesperson added.

Non-bank companies which wish to use a banking name or description need to apply to the MA for consent. The guideline issued today sets out the criteria which the MA will use in deciding whether to give consent. It also clarifies that a company's internet domain name or logo is also regarded as a description or name of the company for the purpose of section 97(1) of the Banking Ordinance.

The guideline is now available at the HKMA's website

For further enquiries, please contact:

Jasmin Fung, Manager (Press), at 2878 8246 or
Caitlin Wong, Manager (Press), at 2878 1687

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
29 November 2000

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Last revision date : 29 November 2000