Application for Money Lenders Licence in Hong Kong
Any person carrying on business as a money lender in Hong Kong must obtain a money lender’s license pursuant to the Money Lenders Ordinance (Chapter 163 of the Laws of Hong Kong) (the ‘MLO’). It is an offence to operate as a money lender in Hong Kong without a license. Normally, the Money Lenders license has a validity period of 12 months. Licensee shall apply for renewal of license within 3 months prior the expiration to continue its operation of money lender service. As of 30 June 2016, 1755 money lender licenses were granted in Hong Kong
Money Lenders Service
Money lenders service means in general making loans to others that is distinct from banks and financial institutions. The services of money lenders include provision of both secured and unsecured loans such as (i) mortgage loans, (ii) consumer and corporate loans, (iii) vehicle, plant equipment leasing, (iv) credit cards, (v) Small and Medium Enterprises loan, (vi) cheque and invoice discounting, (vii) loan syndication.
The following documents will be required for application:-
- Application and statement forms for the applicants
- Documentary proof supporting capability in managing the money lending business.
- Documentary proof showing the financial situation
- Tenancy agreement and floor plan of the premises that is intended to be used for money lending business
- General permission from the landlord in written form
- ‘Permit to occupy a new building’ issued by the Buildings Department
- Land Register obtained from the Land Registry by conducting land research
- Annual return (if the applicant is a company)
Upon receipt of application, the Companies Registry and the Commissioner of Police will issue an acknowledgment receipt of the application. The Commissioner of Police will take around 60 days to investigate and examine the submitted documents. Acknowledgement letter will be issued after 60 days of investigation to inform the applicant whether the application is approved. It usually takes 3 to 4 months to process a submitted application.
An acknowledgment letter and notice will be issued to the applicant one month after the investigation, if the application is approved. The applicant is required to attend a hearing and bring along all the requested documents to the Licensing Court. The Money Lenders license will be granted once the applicant has submitted all the requested documents to the Licensing Court.
Criteria for approval of applications
The Licensing Court is responsible for approval of applications for money lenders licenses, considering the following factors:
- whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to carry on the business (e.g. the relevant general knowledge, qualification and experience, etc.)
- whether the premises to which the application relates are suitable for the carrying on of the business (e.g. usage of the premises and permission from the landlord and tenant etc.); and
- whether the grant of such license is contrary to the public interest.
New requirements with effect from 3 October 2016
With effect from 3 October 2016, applicants for money lenders licenses or the renewal of licenses are required to provide supplementary information relating to the applicant and the business (including, e.g., types of loans involved, intended business, and financial position) in support of the application.
All application for money lenders licenses or renewal of licenses submitted to the Companies Registry on or after 3 October 2016 must be accompanied with the relevant supplementary information sheet in addition to the application documents.
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