Our strong emphasis on customer-centred service relies in large part on building lasting relationships. Since opening our doors more than 80 years ago, core values such as professionalism, passion and taking a prudent-yet-progressive approach have earned us the trust of more than 3 million people in Hong Kong.

We deliver service excellence by combining innovation with integrity in offering our products and services, including clear and honest information that is tailored to specific customer needs, open communication and full accountability in all our business dealings, and high respect for client privacy. We are strengthening connectivity with customers through a variety of channels with investments in digital services, network enhancement and product development.

We work to improve financial literacy within our community, with the objectives of empowering individuals and businesses to achieve financial security and move forward with their wealth management goals, irrespective of their income or circumstances.

A deep understanding of the financial needs and objectives of our customers underpins our reputation for service excellence. We provide channels such as suggestion forms and hotlines for customer-initiated feedback. We proactively gather customer opinions - including through an annual relationship management survey to assess business customer satisfaction - to enhance our ability to provide an outstanding service experience. We identify our strengths, areas for improvement and industry best practice through local market benchmarking exercises and operate a mystery shopping programme to monitor and ensure quality service by our frontline staff at branch outlets and MTR station offices.

In the Value Banking Study 2013, a study which canvassed people on the service performance of the eight major banks in Hong Kong, Hang Seng was the most recommended bank by customers. As recognised by the same organisation, we have had the highest rated banking services among the same eight banks for nine consecutive years.

"They are friendly, demonstrate a high level of professional expertise, and provide clear explanations and relevant advice in response to all our enquiries. If they notice any potential problem, they always inform our company immediately and follow the case up as appropriate. I find that reassuring. They provide a very responsible and very responsive service."

International Tradebest Ltd.

As a member of the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB), we have participated in the HKAB's Annual Banking Services Survey since 2005. The survey gathers input and feedback from banks on general banking services in response to enquiries from and concerns expressed by the government, legislators, regulators and the media.

Service Excellence

In upholding service excellence as our keystone principle, we continue to receive recognition for our banking and financial services.

Award Name Category
2013 Next Magazine Top Service Awards Top Service Awards 2013 - Personal Banking Service category
2013 The Reader's Digest Trusted Brand Survey 2013 Trusted Brands Gold Award in Banking Category and in Credit Card Issuing Bank Category
Sing Tao Excellence Service Brand Awards 2013 Banking Branch Services
Ming Pao Weekly Elite Awards 2013 星級財富管理銀行大獎
2013 EastWeek Hong Kong Service Awards 2013 General Banking Services Award

Handling Customer Feedback

Business units, frontline staff and our Quality Assurance Department (QAD) are all responsible for receiving customer opinions, comments and suggestions. We have a standardised complaint handling procedure to ensure customer feedback is dealt with in a consistent and efficient manner that abides by the service pledges contained in our internal procedure manual and external guidelines.

QAD, which is an independent unit, handles customer comments and assists business units in resolving complaints. QAD staff aim to acknowledge receipt of feedback or a complaint within two working days and resolve most issues within seven days . Should the matter require further investigation, QAD is committed to undertaking this task and providing a comprehensive follow-up reply within 30 days. If QAD's investigations identify any issues that require remedial action, line management will take the necessary steps to address these matters.

Senior management regularly review reports on customer suggestions, comments, compliments and complaints. Lessons learnt from customer feedback are communicated to staff to improve customer service and encourage best practices.

Access for All

Our aim is to provide convenient, secure and fast access to financial services. This includes harnessing the power of technology to offer our services across a wide range of platforms to give customers greater control over how and when they manage their finances. It also means careful planning of our network of outlets and considering the special needs of different demographic groups in our community.

Serving Special-needs Populations

We are working to improve special-needs access to our banking services. Our website is designed with readability and ease of navigation as priorities. We have 149 outlets with wheelchair access, including street-level branches, MTR branches and standalone automated banking centres. In 2013, we introduced 'Social Caring Counters' at selected branches, which provide priority counter service to the elderly, disabled people and other customers in need.

In partnership with Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services (HKSEDS), we launched a new initiative in 2012 under which visually impaired customers can bring their HKSEDS assistance dogs into our main branch's banking halls. To identify those branches that now serve as HKSEDS 'training' sites, the organisation provides specially designed signage which is appropriately displayed at branch entrances.

Customer Convenience

Building on our strong market presence along the MTR network, we established two 'iPoint' sales and service centres in Central and Causeway Bay MTR stations in 2013. These outlets provide a range of services using a multimedia concept with particular appeal for busy professionals and younger customer segments. Other investments in technology and digitally based services for customers in 2013 include the launch of the 'iPower' online retail investment fund management platform.

We also launched a first-of-its-kind near-field communication contactless payment channel that enables Hang Seng MasterCard holders to use their smartphones to make fast, secure payments at selected retail outlets.

At the end of 2013, we had 1.43 million Personal e-Banking customers - up 8.2% compared with a year earlier.

Transparency, Accountability, Choice

We are committed to providing clear, transparent and balanced information to our customers. Product features, terms and conditions, and any associated risks are clearly communicated to ensure customers can make an informed decision.

Where relevant, we present several product options so that customers can select the solution that best suits their requirements. It is our policy to sell products and services based on customers' specific needs, in line with our core values of providing 'the right product and service at the right time for the right customer in the right way' and 'ethical and fair dealings for long-lasting business'.

In addition to established due diligence requirements, new products and services are reviewed and approved for launch by a Product Oversight Committee that reports to the Risk Management Committee and includes senior executives from risk, legal, compliance, finance and operations/IT functions. Every new service and product is also subject to an operational risk self-assessment process, which requires the identification, evaluation and mitigation of potential associated risks.

Customer Privacy

Ensuring the privacy of our customers' personal information and other data is among our most important responsibilities in maintaining our reputation for good governance and in establishing the trust that underpins lasting business relationships. We comply with all data privacy regulations and have formulated a set of 'Privacy Principles' to guide staff in protecting customer information. For more information on our data privacy policies, please see 'Data Privacy' in the Corporate Governance section of this report. Our branch facilities are designed to offer customers who need to discuss sensitive or confidential financial management matters an appropriate amount of personal privacy.

Our Service Pledge

In addition to complying with external regulations and guidelines, we apply a rigorous set of internal 'Customer Fairness Principles' in offering our products and services.

Treat Me Fairly
We will build honest relationships with customers and deliver products and services at a fair price
Tailored Solutions
We will listen to customers and work to understand their needs in order to provide the most suitable products and services
Keep Me informed
We will provide clear, transparent, relevant and timely communications that give customers all the information they need to make informed choices
Suitable Advice
When we provide advice to a customer it must based on a full understanding of their needs and best reflect their circumstances
Meet Commitments
When we make commitments to a customer as to how a product or service will perform, we will always endeavour to deliver on these commitments
We will provide customers with the ability to change products or services as their requirements change without enforcing unreasonable barriers. If a customer wishes to complain or make a claim, the process will be easy to understand

We are also governed by Hong Kong's Code of Banking Practice, our Group Standards Manual and our internal legal and compliance Functional Instruction Manual.

We provide a diverse range of personal banking and wealth management products to enable customers to select the solution that best suits their needs. We offer investment products with different risk levels to suit the varying risk appetite of customers.

Our strong product manufacturing and distribution capabilities allow us to offer timely investment solutions to support the financial management objectives of customers in different market situations and business conditions.

Championing Local Business

Building lasting partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is one of our key areas of focus. By working with these businesses, we support the local economy and can help create new employment opportunities and wealth.

We offer a wide range of products tailored specifically for SME customers and continue to enhance service delivery through better use of technology and improved relationship management. Our recently established Trade Advisory Team provides support to SME customers in handling their trading business.

The Hang Seng Green Financing Scheme provides funding for Hong Kong-owned factories in the Pearl River Delta Region to acquire green equipment that will enhance energy efficiency and reduce pollution. For business customers that receive endorsement under the assessment process conducted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), we will offer up to 100% financing on equipment financing loans, as well as other banking privileges and discounts on insurance, depending on the improvement in energy efficiency and/or pollution reduction likely to be achieved through the acquisition and use of the new equipment.

We also actively participate in the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme supported by Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation, which helps SMEs acquire sufficient funding to meet their business needs.

We regularly run seminars for SME customers in collaboration with external parties or associations on topics related to financing solutions, taxation, investment market, to help improve financial literacy and increase awareness of relevant financial management tools.

Our commitment to supporting SME business earned us our eighth consecutive 'Best SME's Partner Award' from The Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business in 2013.

Helping Customers Face Financial Challenges

We understand that life is full of uncertainties and unforeseeable change. That is why we are committed to working with customers facing challenging financial situations.

For business customers, we provide assessment and advisory services to help them get back on track. We work with customers to make a realistic assessment of their current position, from which we will determine the best course of action. This may involve rescheduling a debt based on new cash flow projections, the continuation of revolving facilities to keep businesses afloat during a tough period or providing a grace period to give the customer time to work out and execute a longer term recovery strategy.

Similarly, our primary objective when working with personal customers in financial distress is to find a win-win solution. Our internal guidelines are based on the Hong Kong Approach to Consumer Debt Difficulties issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Association. We have a dedicated unit for handling debt relief plans that will review the circumstances surrounding each case with the individual(s) involved. Where a genuine difficulty exists, we aim to find solutions that may range from extending a repayment schedule to offering partial relief.

Community Outreach

At a broader community level, we are working in partnership with several local non-governmental organisations - including Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre and The Healthy Budgeting Family Debt Counseling Centre under Tung Wah Groups of Hospitals - to help individuals in financial difficulty by offering them debt-restructuring services.

We participate in the Financial Education Programme organised by the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service with the aim sharing key concepts of savings and credit and strategies for sound financial management with low-income groups and single parent families.

We also participated in the Hong Kong Institute of Banks' pilot Junior Banker Induction Programme in 2013. The Programme provides young people with a better understanding of the activities and role of banks in contributing to the economic prosperity and social betterment of Hong Kong and its community. Activities under the Programme included an induction workshop and a 'behind-the-scenes' tour of the Bank for a group of secondary school students.

Service Environment

In line with the principles established by Hang Seng's founders, we view every customer who visits our outlets as an honoured guest. We aim to provide a comfortable, clean and safe environment in all our branches and service outlets. We design our premises with ease of navigation and health and safety as top priorities. We also have floor staff operating at our branches who are available to assist customers with enquiries.

In Hong Kong's humid climate, managing indoor air quality (IAQ) and ventilation systems is an important element of our health and safety responsibilities. To ensure that the IAQ at our branches and offices meets the 'Good Class' established in the 'Guidance Notes for the Management of IAQ in Offices and Public Place' issued by Hong Kong Government's Environmental Protection Department, we regularly clean air filters and conduct IAQ measurements for monitoring and continuously improving the system performance.

Our standard temperature set point in our offices and outlets is 24.5 C during the hot season, with the aim of striking a good balance between our determination to reduce our energy consumption and our desire to provide a pleasant environment for customers and staff.

We have a Major Incident Group and a multi-disciplinary pandemic contingency planning team comprising representatives from various divisions of the Bank to implement comprehensive damage control measures to enable us to continue to provide services to the public in the event of an outbreak of influenza or other contagious disease.

We have implemented a wide range of measures and procedures to minimise potential safety hazards for both staff and customers in our Bank premises, including non-slip treatments on floor surfaces and use of clear and conspicuous signage for temporary safety hazards such as wet floors.

To help ensure the good occupational health of our customers and staff, we provide ergonomically designed furniture and related equipment.

We provide safety training and conduct periodic emergency evacuation drills to ensure that our employees can efficiently and effectively identify, eliminate and/or mitigate any potential safety risk to customers and staff arising from fire or similar emergency situations. We have appointed Fire Marshalls in all our premises. We also have arrangements in place for a number of employees to acquire Qualified First Aider status and take First Aid refresher training courses for the benefit of their colleagues and customers in the event of a medical emergency or accident.

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