The Association of Banks in Malaysia: In response to letters-to-editor on "Updating of passbooks" published in The Star

February 27, 2014
Dear Editor

Re: Response to letters-to-editor on “Updating of passbooks” published in The Star

Reference is made to the letters-to-editor titled “Making life difficult for customers” and “Banks got to be pragmatic” published in The Star on 21 February 2014 and 22 February 2014 respectively. We would like to respond for and on behalf of our 13 Council banks*.

Having checked with our Council banks, The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) would like to clarify that based on the responses thus far, for banks which still furnish passbooks to customers, they do allow third parties to update their customers’ passbooks, provided generally that the banks are presented with a letter of authorization from the accountholder and the same is verified. There are banks which provide, for the convenience of customers, a standard letter of authorization.

This, as will be appreciated, is a reasonable requirement as banks remain concerned about the physical custodianship of the passbook itself even if no withdrawal of funds is being attempted. Our members have always taken necessary steps to ensure that customer’s information is treated with the greatest of confidentiality as a matter of policy, more so with the coming into force of the Personal Data Protection Act. Our member banks have in place controls and systems to ensure that customers’ information is kept confidential at all times. Further to this, banks have their strict internal rules on confidentiality and information security which all bank employees must abide by.

To further clarify, a savings account will generally be considered “dormant” if there are no transactions (either withdrawal or deposit) performed over the counter, at Self-Service Terminals or via internet banking for a period of 12 months. The fee imposed on such dormant accounts (if any) may vary from bank to bank.

Meanwhile, banks would normally consolidate the transactions into one lump sum in the following circumstance:-
  1. when the number of transactions exceeds a certain threshold as determined by each bank; and/or
  2. If the passbook has not been updated after a certain period of time.
Nevertheless, customers may still request for the detailed list of transactions or breakdown of the lump sum from the bank, subject to a charge depending on the bank concerned.

We would like to urge the writer, Utterly Disappointed, to contact ABM to provide us with further details of the bank in question so that we may check with the said bank on the issue raised.

The banking public is encouraged to compare services offered by the banks to determine which best caters to their needs. Members of the public are welcomed to contact us at our ABMConnect hotline by dialing 1-300-88-9980, or emailing us at eABMConnect by logging on to our website,

Yours faithfully,
Chuah Mei Lin
Executive Director

*Our 13 Council Banks comprise Malayan Banking Berhad, Affin Bank Berhad, Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad, AmBank (M) Berhad, CIMB Bank Berhad, Citibank Berhad, Hong Leong Bank Berhad, HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad, OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, Public Bank Berhad, RHB Bank Berhad, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad, and United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd.
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