China’s Banking Regulator Sounds First Risk Warning for 2022, Targets “Routine Loans” via Online Platforms

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The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) has issued its first risk alert to Chinese consumers in 2022, warning them in particular of the perils of “routine loans” (套路贷).

The risk warning issued by CBIRC on 20 January called for Chinese consumers to “pay attention too and prevent those forms of routine loans which harm the right to know, the independent selection rights, the fair transaction rights and the asset security rights of financial consumers.”

According to CBIRC routine loans involve “mandatory bundled sales, misleading sales and excessive interest rates, that severely harm the lawful rights and interests of consumers.”

Specific forms of misconduct include lack of transparency concerning interest rates and fees; false advertising, and hidden fee collection.

CBIRC highlighted four forms of risk in particular, including:

  1. One-sided information disclosures, hidden product risk, and other forms of conduct that harm the right to know of consumers.
  2. Hidden features embedded in Internet interfaces that harm the right of consumers to make independent choices.
  3. Inappropriate misleading sales for online loans that harm the right of consumers to fair transactions.
  4. Routine loans, illegal fundraising, fraud and other forms of criminal conduct that harm the right of consumers to asset security.