The Hong Kong S.A.R. Licensed Money Lenders Association Limited (“LMLA”) was established in December 1999. Looking back to the past years, the Association has become a publicly recognized representative of the money lending industry in Hong Kong with the united effort contributed by the Executive Committee Members and all members. Simultaneously, LMLA has been working closely with the Government and relevant institutions on related issues of personal credit and taken part in the consultancy of formulation of respective guidelines related to the industry, which has made Hong Kong's money lending industry more systematic and more prosperous. We are all very encouraged and grateful.
With the issue of the Code of Money Lending Practice (the "Code") in 2002, LMLA has made great strides towards accomplishing its task of transforming the money lending business into a self-regulated industry. The introduction of the Code is the core stone for raising the professional standard of money lenders. All the members are obliged to strictly comply with the Code in the course of their operation and must follow the set standards when providing money lending services for customers. In the same year, the website and a hotline were made available for access to public and members for enquiry of related issues of money lending business including the submission of any complaints on misconduct of members. After that, the connections among members are made closer and the transparency of the money lender business externally is enhanced.
Credit Risk Management and Consumer Benefits
There have been significant changes in the operating environment of the money lending industry in Hong Kong in recent years, particularly in the aspect of raising demand of consumer protection and elevated sophistication of credit risk management. LMLA has been working closely with the Hong Kong Association of Banks and The DTC Association on a wide range of issues relating to consumer lending. In 2002, LMLA has joined forces with the aforesaid associations to establish a policy working platform called the Consumer Credit Forum ("CCF") to work out common issues pertinent to the financial services industry. The CCF has introduced th Fraud Alert Scheme which is a mechanism to raise alert for suspected bankruptcy-related frauds, and also the Debts Relief Plans which open up more options for financially distressed borrowers to alleviate their debts burden. CCF also co-operated with the regulatory authorities in studying and working towards the implementation of consumer credit bureau. Finally in August 2013, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data edited the Code of Practice on Consumer Credit Data under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, and positive credit data sharing by Credit Reference Agency (CFA) has been opened for credit checking gradually. After the implementation of positive consumer credit bureau, LMLA issued “The Guideline on The Sharing and Use of Consumer Credit Data through a Credit Reference Agency” for reference and guiding of members. LMLA believes that the successful implementation of the positive consumer credit bureau not only benefits credit providers as in balancing credit risk against business opportunities but also benefits the end consumers for greater protection on their consume rights.
In 2016, in order to further fight against the unscrupulous financial intermediaries, the Government has implemented more tightened control measurements in 4 different aspects have been implemented including more vigorous law enforcement, more public education and promotion, provision of consultancy services for the public and implementation of more severe additional licensing for application of money lender licence. LMLA has actively involved in the preparation and consultancy process in sharing the problems encountered by the industry and customers and also concern of the members of the industry with the aim to support the Government to combat the problems and crimes arisen from the unscrupulous money lending activities, so as to prevent the public to suffer loss and also safeguard the benefit of members.
With the support of the HKSAR Government and our members, LMLA has been publicly recognized as the most representative association in the industry of licensed money lenders. With the same mission since our establishment, the main objectives of LMLA include, amongst others, speaking for the interest of money lenders under the respective Ordinances and Guideline of the money lending industry, bridging the communication between the Government and members, together with acting as consultative body and mediator on critical issues when dealing with the Government.
In the past years, LMLA has maintained good relationship with different associations overseas such as International Monetary Fund and Ministry of Law of Singapore, etc. There were occasions arranged for exchanging experiences and views on the market development and regulation of money lending operation of different countries. Such kinds of interactions with authorities around the world are indeed valuable opportunities for LMLA to promote its professional expertise.
It is my great honor and pleasure to serve LMLA as the Chairman for almost 20 years since its establishment. I would like to extend my deep appreciation to all my past and existing colleagues at the Executive Committee as the success of LMLA is attributable to their contribution and effort. Last but not least, I would like to thank all our members, the Government, public bodies, respective industry associations and the public for their continuous support. In the coming years, LMLA will continue to contribute our part for the advancement of LMLA in the pursuit of prosperity for the money lending industry and Hong Kong as a whole.
The Hong Kong S.A.R. Licensed Money Lenders Association Limited