Council Meetings (Oral Question): Banking Services Provided by Note-issuing Banks(2009.12.09)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): No matter if banks are NIBs or not, since they open or close branches based on commercial principles, in fact, this does not pose any major problem. However, at present, there is a realistic problem, that is, residents in remote areas really have to travel long distances before they can get banking services. Moreover, the situation is worsening. In view of this, has the Government introduced any measure to encourage banks to take into account their social responsibility when deciding to open or close branches? I am not referring just to NIBs, nor am I asking the Government to adopt the approach of guidelines. Rather, I am talking about how to encourage them, so that all banks will understand that in fact, they have their social responsibility?

SECRETARY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES AND THE TREASURY (in Cantonese): I agree very much with this opinion and we will take measures to encourage banks, in the hope that they will understand their social responsibility. For this reason, in the past two to three years, we have continually held meetings with them. In particular, we hope that when deciding to close branches, they can consider their responsibilities in this regard. In addition, the HKAB also came to the Panel on Financial Services to report on, among other measures, how to link up the two ATM networks or further extend the cash withdrawal service to include more convenience stores. In this area, we are constantly giving them encouragement and conducting reviews.

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