Mure Dickie: China’s banking system has made only patchy progress

From The Financial Times:

In the early 1990s the Bank of China, one of the country’s “big four” banks, made an error in my favour amounting to hundreds of US dollars. When I pointed out the mistake, the bank declined to take the money back.

Instead, I was sent from one slow-moving queue to another at the bank’s main Beijing branch, by tellers anxious to avoid the task of sorting out the fouled-up transfer. When I told the third cashier that I had had enough and was going home, she said that she appreciated my good intentions but there was nothing she could do.

The experience left me with a deep impression of just how dysfunctional China’s biggest financial institutions could be. A decade of reform efforts later, and with Bank of China (BoC) and its “big four” peer, China Construction Bank (CCB), preparing for multibillion dollar international initial public offerings, the system today remains deeply confused.

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