Blog: CBIRC Directs Banks to Ease Account Opening for Small Businesses – Regulation Asia

Banks may not refuse to open accounts for small and micro enterprises on the grounds that they have few staff or insufficient bank deposits.

The CBIRC (China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission) has directed banks to ensure they provide adequate access to bank account services for small and micro enterprises in the country.

In a notice, the CBIRC said banks should optimise bank account opening services and resolve the difficulties experienced by small and micro enterprises when they apply for bank cards and account opening.

The notice covers risk control, service optimisation, and the protection of consumers’ rights to fair transactions. This includes expectations for banks to open accounts for small and micro enterprises that have a “reasonable purpose” for opening an account and where there is no obvious reason to suspect them of illegal or criminal activities.

Banks may not refuse to open accounts for small and micro enterprises solely because they have few staff, they are not based locally, their business and personal address are the same, they have not yet commenced operations, or they have inadequate bank deposits, the CBIRC says.

The notice says banks should provide simple and easy account services to small and micro enterprises, and establish account functionality that matches the level of customer identity verification and account risk level, according to the needs of enterprises. Requirements for supporting documentation should also be simplified.

Banks should not force individuals or small and micro enterprises to purchase such financial products as wealth management products, insurance, structured deposits, or otherwise push companies to accept other financial services. Account functions and account opening processing times should also not be linked with the purchase of any financial product or service, and the sale of such products should not be bundled.

The notice says banks should focus on improving the account opening experience, including through the implementation of measures such as online appointments, online forms and document merging to improve processing, reduce verification repetition, and improve convenience for customers.

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