A proposal for deposit insurance in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies


This paper examines the arguments for and against deposit insurance. It is found that, while most arguments against deposit insurance are valid, they can be mitigated by suitable arrangements. In particular, fractional deposit insurance together with vesting the responsibility of managing the insurance fund with the bank regulators will maintain a suitable degree of market discipline and ensure that banks will not invest excessively in risky ventures. It is pointed out that one major cause of bank failures is fraud and it is suggested that market discipline—in particular the “monitoring” activity of depositors—cannot effectively contain fraud. Monitoring by bank regulators is far more efficient because regulators have more expertise, can devote full time to the activity, and have wider legal powers to look into the affairs of individual banks. By reducing uncertainty and the cost of monitoring for depositors, deposit insurance achieves huge savings for society, helps bring about fairer competition among banks, and reduces disruption to economic activities in the event banks fail. It is proposed that Hong Kong adopt mandatory fractional deposit insurance on all Hong Kong dollar deposits which are redeemable on demand. Depositors should further have the option to buy additional coverage on other deposits and on the otherwise not-covered deposits by paying an appropriate, higher premium. 本文對存款保險的利幣進行了深入的分析。結論是: 雖然有關存款保險的批評大致上均屬正確,適當的安排卻可大大減少存款保險的副作用。本文特別指出,實行分數式存款保險、再向銀行監察部門委以管理存款保險基金的責任,將可逹致一定的「市場紀律」、促使銀行不致進行過高風險的投資。本文同時指出,歷來銀行倒閉的一個主要是欺詐行為,而「市場紀律」一般不足制約此等行為。原因是存戶及大眾並不容易掌握正確和充份的資料。由政府委任的銀行監察部門卻有專業和全職的人才和法定的權力去索取一切必需的資料。適當的存款保險制度為廣大的存戶減低風險和監察成本,做成巨大的社會資源的節省、促進銀行業內更公平的競爭、並減低一旦有銀行出事時所造成的對經濟活動的干擾。本文建議香港對所有港元活期及來往戶口的存款實行強制性、分數式的存款保險。同時存戶應可選擇性地付出較高的保費為其他存款購買額外的保險。





Recommended Citation

Ho, L. S. (1991). A proposal for deposit insurance in Hong Kong [Monograph]. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies.

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