Hate your bank? Saturday is 'Bank Transfer Day'
Big banks may have scrapped plans to charge fees for debit card use, but many customers are still angry and taking their money elsewhere.
This post comes from Jennifer Waters at partner site MarketWatch.
If you've been thinking about firing your bank, now might be the time. A handful of grassroots groups are mobilizing people to abandon mega-banks for what one organizer calls "more friendly" smaller banks and credit unions.
Show time is Saturday, Nov. 5, dubbed "Bank Transfer Day" by its organizer, Kristen Christian, an art gallery owner in California who started a Facebook movement after a handful of banks -- most notably Bank of America -- attempted to slap fees on debit-card use. Her movement has garnered support from consumer-advocacy groups and pressured big banks to kill debit-card fee plans. Post continues below.
"People are sufficiently outraged by how they've been treated by big banks," said Adam Levin, chairman of Credit.com. "There had to be an equivalent of a national movement to get people more aware of local banks, community banks and credit unions."
Christian is using Facebook to invite people to shift their funds from for-profit banking institutions to not-for-profit credit unions by Nov. 5.
"Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will always remember the 5th of November," Christian wrote on the Bank Transfer Day wall.
As of Thursday, nearly 36,000 Facebook users "like" the concept while more than 73,000 indicated they will be "attending" Christian’s "party."
Meanwhile, an estimated 650,000 consumers have joined credit unions nationwide since Sept. 29, according to a statement on Thursday from the Credit Union National Association or CUNA, a credit-union advocacy group. That’s the day Bank of America announced its debit-card fee.
Credit unions saw savings-account deposits grow by $4.5 billion in that time, "likely from the new members and existing members shifting their funds," CUNA said.
The Bank Transfer Day idea has caught the attention of progressive activist group MoveOn and some segments of the Occupy Wall Street movement, some of whom are calling for a Move Your Money "day of action" this Saturday. That’s a reference to the Move Your Money Project, started by Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington in 2009.
Anonymous, the hacker group, is in on the action, too, by supporting a bank transfer among its followers.
Christian noted on her Facebook wall that while she "acknowledges the enthusiasm" from Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street, her movement "was neither inspired by, derived from nor organized" by either group. Nor does she endorse any activities those groups conduct.
Bank Transfer Day has prompted other groups, too, such as College Bank Transfer Day in which college students and recent graduates are urging students and universities to move their money by Nov. 5 from what they call "large, irresponsible banks" that they blame for a "wide range of economic problems" into local financial institutions.
The New Bottom Line, a coalition of community organizations, congregations, labor unions and others, has partnered with a group called The Other 98% to encourage cities and other institutions to also turn to local and community banks and credit unions in a Move Our Money divestment campaign.
Good news for small banks, credit unions
Credit unions and small banks, both bricks-and-mortar and online, have been taking advantage of the consumer outcry with a number of promotions. EverBank Direct, an online full-service bank that has branches only in its home state of Florida, is offering $60 to new customers. It also carries what it calls a "yield pledge" that promises to keep the interest rate on checking accounts in the top 5% of competitive rates.
"It’s definitely to highlight the different value proposition," said Frank Trotter, president of EverBank. "We think of it as the 'our-bags-fly-free' approach to banking."
The movement appears to be helping some banks and credit unions. BECU, which claims to be the largest credit union in Washington, said it’s tallied some 16,000 new members in October, a 200% hike from the average month.
PerkStreet Financial, a financial institution that parks your money in an FDIC-insured bank, saw its new checking accounts swell some 100% Sept. 30, the day after Bank of America announced it would charge the $5 monthly fee on debit cards, and then another 100% over that increase on Oct. 1.
Even if you miss the Nov. 5 deadline, credit unions and small banks will continue to keep the movement alive by reaching out to bank-averse customers for some time.
It’s not difficult to fire your bank. But think hard before you do. Do the math on what you might save versus what inconveniences you might endure and compare the alternatives when making a final choice.
More on MarketWatch and MSN Money:
- 3 tips for switching banks
- Why housing deserves a home in your portfolio
- Banks retreat on fees, but won't surrender
- Banks' take from debit fees? $875M per month
- How to help a jobless friend or family member
- Make that credit card work for you
- Quiz:Estimate your credit score
Our country has gotten into the shape it is in because we did not protect what our forefathers fought for. They gave us a country to be proud of, where we could live free and, if we were willing to work hard, could have the American dream. It was handed to us and we didn’t take care of it. We couldn’t be inconvenienced when we saw injustices. When politicians and greedy corporation took more and more from us, we complained but did nothing to try to stop it. These movements are long overdue and I hope they will continue ‘til they have the desired effect. I also hope our children and grandchildren don’t squander away what has been done for them, like we did. Take down a couple of giants and the rest will fall in line. Keep it up.
Right on! Hit 'em where it hurts!
I moved my money months ago when Wachovia became Wells Fargo.
If you can't move your money Saturday, do it as soon as possible.
I have been reading information and reviews on closing an account with BOA and somewhere it said that if a recurring transaction occurs within 30 days of the close date, then it could reopen the account. When I read that it got me thinking that it they reopen the account and pay the vendor, does that mean that my account will automatically go in the red because there wasn't anything there and they slap on an insufficient funds fee as well.???? That could be a big problem if that happens after Saturday.
Oh well still moving LOL It is time to say FU to BOA!!!!!
I moved to a credit union when Chase took over the bank I had dealt with years. So far I haven't had one bit of trouble from them. When I have a question, I go in and speak to a HUMAN and it doesn't cost me a thing. I can check my balance, debits and deposits on my PC and it doesn't cost me anything. The money I have in savings is invested locally and not somewhere on the other side of the country.
Tomorrow is "Bank Transfer Day." Remember: Banks take in $875M per month in debit fees alone. Tired of paying these fees? Move to a credit union or local bank. Someone in our history once said: If we don't hang together surely we shall be hanged separately. The ball is in your court guys.
I pulled all my monies out of a well known bank,everytime that I had dealings with them it was as if they were doing me a favor by having my cash. my credit union pays me interest on my checking account,they also have a user friendly web site. tell the big banks to suck it. If one doesn't like the credit unions then fine,in my book you have vested interest in the big banks and are scared sh#tless of the stock price tanking
These people were hired by those big banks to calm you down. Also, they are make it like a big deal as switch the bank. In the real world, you can open new account in any local credit union within twenty minutes. Don't be fool by them. Shut down those big banks system. Without your money deposit, they are just the empty warehouse.
If we, American people united togethers, we can win and shut down anything we want.
But most people are right about the "not being able to handle more accounts" factor.
HOWEVER, I strongly dislike large banks because of people like Mr. Calvin C and the American dream guy who are greedy pigs.
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