It’s not just banks. I’m constantly shocked by how slooooow Chinese people are. You can be in line at McDonald’s or Starbucks for 10 minutes with a bunch of locals and even still when they get to the front of the line it still takes them 5 times as long as a foreigner to complete the transaction – and they speak the bloody language fluently. It’s like they don’t even look at the menu or decide what they want until they are actually at the register.
Maybe it’s all a power trip and they like making the people behind them wait.
Other time-management skills and behaviours I don’t understand:
In a line of traffic, as soon as the light turns green everyone starts blasting their horn BUT the car in front always takes a few extra seconds to get going.
Pushing and rushing to get to an escalator so they can just stand there.
Walking briskly through crowded areas with their mobile phone held up to their face so can they watch their crappy dramas and scattering the people in front of them like bowling pins.
Shoving onto a crowded metro car before people can get off – then cursing and getting upset when people push back to get off the train. My one fight in China occurred when I was forced to push through a surging crowd trying to get on the metro in order to get off. One local tough took offense and tried took a swing at me and I ended up having to pin him on the subway platform with about 400 locals watching.
So, OP – in short, while the behavior of the locals is improving, it is still deplorable by international standards. If you live in China for an extended period and then visit a much poorer third world country like Myanmar or Cambodia you will be shocked at how better behaved people are.