The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) today (28 October 2013) hosted the launching ceremony for the Treat Customers Fairly (TCF) Charter. All 22 retail banks in Hong Kong (listed at Annex 1) who have signed up to the TCF Charter attended the launching ceremony, pledging their commitment to implementing the Charter principles. A copy of the Charter is at Annex 2.
The Charter incorporates five high-level principles (“TCF principles”) about treating customers fairly. Its aim is to promote a stronger corporate culture among banks of treating customers fairly. This will ensure customers’ interest is taken into account by banks in their business dealings with customers which will enhance customers’ confidence and trust in the banking industry.
Mr Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said in his opening remarks at the launching ceremony that, “I am pleased to see that the Charter has received the full support of 22 retail banks in Hong Kong. These banks are here to sign and launch this Charter, pledging to provide bank customers with better and stronger protection to Hong Kong customers. It also marks a new era for Hong Kong as Asia’s premier international financial centre in the enhancement of consumer protection in the financial realm.”
The HKMA has issued a circular on TCF Charter today to explain that it expects the senior management and the board of directors of the signing banks, as part of good risk governance, to be vigilant about whether their respective institutions have met the TCF principles enshrined in the Charter. The HKMA also encourages other Authorized Institutions to follow the TCF principles to the extent relevant to their institutions’ businesses.
In the context of formulating the Charter, the HKMA has also been in discussions with the banks on their charging of low-balance and dormant account fees. The HKMA notes that the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) has today issued a circular encouraging member banks to adopt a flexible approach in relation to the charging of low-balance and dormant account fees. The HKMA further notes that several retail banks have today announced that they have decided not to charge dormant account fee and will exempt all vulnerable group customers from low-balance fee. The HKMA welcomes the HKAB circular and the decision of the banks as regards abolition or waiver of fees, and urges that the other banks to follow the example of the relevant banks to adopt a flexible approach on such fees.
Background of the TCF Charter
Over the past few years the HKMA has been engaging the banking industry on various initiatives to promote a stronger corporate culture among banks of treating their consumers fairly. With this objective in mind, and riding on the good practices promoted under the G20 High-Level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection promulgated in October 2011, the HKMA has worked with the industry to develop the TCF Charter as a catalyst for fostering a stronger risk culture towards fair treatment of customers at all levels of banks and at all stages of their relationship with customers. The Charter is primarily aimed at retail consumers and is designed to complement, not change, current law or regulations or the existing terms and conditions between banks and their customers.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
28 October 2013
Mr Norman T. L. Chan (the sixth from left on the front row), Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, participated in the Treat Customers Fairly Charter Launching Ceremony together with the 22 retail banks which have signed up to the Charter.