Banks take steps to shorten the queues.
More bank tellers added to serve during rush hour, counters reserved exclusively for VIP clients shared by ordinary customers, and water dispensers, newspaper stands and other recreational facilities installed.
These are part of the efforts made by Bank of Communications, a major Shanghai-based lender, to address the growing complaints from customers that they waited too long to be served at its outlets.
Actually the gripe about long queues is an old one and it's a common problem with almost all banks in the country, not just Bank of Communications.
The problem has prompted the regulator to urge domestic institutions to find solutions and threaten punishment. Most banks have implemented measures to alleviate the frustration of retail customers.
"I can feel the improvement at some outlets of the big banks. Customer service managers, whose seats usually used to be empty, can now be seen, and that helps a lot," said Yu Qi, who works for a chemical company.
But he said the problem did not completely go away and customers could have a very unpleasant experience when crowds, attracted by the potential high yields, swarm banks' outlets to buy newly issued mutual funds.
More inclined to cash payments, Chinese go to banks to pay water, electricity and gas bills, pay back bank loans for apartments and cars, or to buy funds, securities and insurance products.
To relieve the pressure at counters, the banking watchdog has raised the daily limit of cash withdrawal at ATMs from 5,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan.
In a bid to encourage customers to use electronic banking services, Bank of Communications offers a discount on transaction fees when customers buy and sell mutual funds.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's largest lender, announced earlier this month that it was lowering the charges by up to 20 percent for its electronic certificate used in online banking payments.
The bank has also partnered with nearly 100 e-business websites to launch a promotion for its online banking service until the year-end.
"The bank hopes the wide-ranging campaign will encourage more customers to utilize its online services," said the bank's spokesman.
Other banks have also pledged to improve their services, including adding more staff and automatic equipment at their outlets to cut the annoyingly long waiting time for customers. China Construction Bank said it will add more ATMs and 350 automatic banking machines.
（英语点津 Linda 编辑）