The pledge by eight Chinese banks in Shanghai to reduce queuing time for its customers this week is
The Shanghai Municipal Finance Industry Office recently brought together 16
Chinese banks to find ways to handle growing complaints from customers about
According to a recent study of 100 local bank outlets, the average customer
queues for 52 minutes. And seven of the 16 banks reported an average waiting
time of over 30 minutes.
Not enough counters for individual services and poor management are among the
major problems at the banks, the study found.
An "ultimatum" issued by Shanghai's finance industry office last Friday
called on local banks to take measures to improve the situation, or face
On Saturday, eight Chinese banks announced plans to rectify the situation,
including revamping outlets, optimizing business processes, adding more staff
and automatic banking equipment.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China said it would extend
its business hours, set up a non-stop service in all its outlets during lunch
hours and provide some evening services.
China Construction Bank said it would add more bank tellers as
well as 350 automatic banking machines.
In the last few years, banks have paid more attention to high-end customers
the profit center of their business while ignoring the massive number of low-end
As a result, banking in Shanghai has become an unpleasant experience for many
customers. This is certainly damaging to a city that aspires to become a
While profitability is important to banks, winning the respect of customers
big or small is crucial to the long-term survival and growth of banks. In this
sense, the Chinese banks are taking the right step this week.
Foreign banks, which have big plans in China, should also bear this in mind.
They should not just keep their eyes on lucrative high-end customers while
shirking their responsibility to the rest of their clients.
(China Daily 04/17/2007 page13)