PBOC Demands Banks Loosen Account Opening Conditions for Chinese Small Businesses


The Chinese central bank has mandated looser requirements for account opening by micro and small-enterprises, as part of a broader push for greater financial inclusion.

On 14 October the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced that it had recently released the “Guidance Opinions Concerning Effectively Optimizing Micro and Small-enterprise Bank Account Service and Risk Control and Prevention Work” (关于做好小微企业银行账户优化服务和风险防控工作的指导意见).

The opinions have the goal of “optimising the commercial environment, and pragmatically resolving the account opening difficulties of micro and small enterprises.”

PBOC concurrently released the “Micro and Small Enterprise Bank Account Opening Service Standard Negative List Guide” (小微企业银行账户开立服务规范负面清单指引), which prohibits a range of practices by banks in relation to the opening of accounts by micro and small enterprises, including:

  • Requiring that MSE’s provide operating materials which are as detailed and complete as those of large and medium-sized enterprises;
  • Refusing to open bank accounts for MSE’s on the grounds of reasons such as the use of registered addresses as centralised registration sites, or use of their own or leased reprises as business addresses;
  • Refusing to open bank accounts for MSE’s on the grounds that their official premises are too simple, that they lack enterprise entrance signs, or that their employees are too few.
  • Requiring that MSE’s make large-sum deposits, achieve a certain operating scale or attaching the sale of relevant products and services as conditions for the opening of accounts.
  • Refusing to open accounts for MSE’s on cost-benefit considerations.