HKMA concerned following arrests of DBS staff on suspicion of selling customers’ data

Hong Kong’s financial regulator said it will “follow up” with the bank after reports that 20 employees were arrested by ICAC

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 December, 2016, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 December, 2016, 7:32pm

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has declared itself to be concerned following media reports that 20 DBS bank staff were arrested on Thursday for allegedly selling customers’ personal data.

The 20 DBS employees were arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on suspicion of bribing senior staff to hand over customers’ personal data, which they then provided to mainland call centres, Apple Daily reported.

The call centres then used the data to cold call customers, offering them high interest loans and splitting the commission between themselves and the employees who had provided them with the data, the paper said.

“We will follow up with the relevant bank,” said a spokesperson for the HKMA in a statement expressing its concern.

A DBS spokesman said in an emailed statement: “DBS Hong Kong takes our obligations to curtail financial crime very seriously and the bank will cooperate fully with any law enforcement agency on their investigations. This includes informing authorities when we become aware of matters which require their attention.

“Together with our regulators and the industry, we intend to intensify our efforts in collaborating and fighting against financial crime.”

The spokesman declined to confirm or deny the media reports of the arrests, though Bloomberg reported that the bank disputed Apple Daily’s figure of 20 staff arrested.

According to the paper’s report, DBS’ direct sales team were recording nearly HK$100 million in loans extended per month.