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New protest targets big banks

Organizers of Bank Transfer Day are hoping to piggyback on the media interest in Occupy Wall Street.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 12, 2011 11:59AM

This post comes from Brian O'Connell at partner site MainStreet.

 

MainStreet on MSN MoneyOccupy Wall Street has dominated headlines for the past few weeks, with advocates and critics jaw-boning over whether it was government or Wall Street that fueled the financial crisis (here's a vote for both).

 

But even critics can't argue about the growth prospects of the "occupations" taking place in urban centers across the U.S. Now comes an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street that takes aim at banks where it hurts them most -- in their vaults.

 

The social uprising -- called Bank Transfer Day -- encourages bank customers to take their cash out of big banks and put it in smaller banks and credit unions instead. The movement is ostensibly in response to aggressive fees institutions are rolling out to recover profits lost from new financial regulations, notably Bank of America's decision to stick debit card users with a $5 monthly fee and Wells Fargo's $3 test of the same.

 

On the movement's Facebook page, protest organizers say that, even with new government regulations in place to keep banks in check, they're still making out like bandits. For example:

  • With the Durbin Amendment in effect, banks will still make 19 cents profit per processed transaction.
  • The average consumer uses his or her debit card 24 times per month.
  • Without the additional fee, Bank of America stands to turn a $3.3 billion annual profit from its 59 million customers' debit card transactions.

Here's an explanation from the organizers of Bank Transfer Day, straight from the group's Facebook page:

Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will always remember the 5th of November!! If the 99% removes our funds from the major banking institutions on or by this date, we will send a clear message and give the 1% a taste of the fear that we experience every day when we aren't able to pay for our rent, food, medication, utilities, student loans, etc.

As of Oct. 10, the group's organizers say 6,500 Americans have already signed up in support of the event. How many of those consumers will actually yank their deposits from big banks is an open-ended question that won't be answered until Nov. 5, if at all. Post continues after video.

But the protest won't be going away. Consumers who want to join in only have to take three simple steps, organizers say:

  • Open an account with a credit union.
  • Transfer your funds to the account (online or in person) by Nov. 5.
  • Follow your bank's procedures to close your account.

Bank Transfer Day organizers are not only hoping to piggyback on the media interest in Occupy Wall Street, there's a deeper well of consumer dissatisfaction that the group wants to tap into -- that "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore" frustration immortalized in the 1976 film "Network."

 

Just 6,500 bank transfers won't cut it, even though the movement still seems to be growing. In the way they treat customers, big banks could keep those numbers where they are, shrink them -- or cause them to grow into something truly significant.

 

More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

5Comments
Oct 12, 2011 1:16PM
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I'm participating and I didn't sign the pledge.  This was one of the best ideas to come out of OWS.  Banks own our government, so they won't spank them, but the account holders certainly can.  
Oct 12, 2011 4:15PM
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anybody stupid enough to stay with a bank shoud have to pay those fees the bank wants to chg. 

Oct 12, 2011 3:05PM
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as of 3pm they have 26,742 Attending, over 168,000 have not responded but are aware of the program. 
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notably Bank of America's decision to stick debit card users with a $5 monthly fees and Wells Fargo's $3 test of the same.

 

Duh!!!

The Frank - Dodd Bill requires BofA to charge these fees.   So is it Gov't or Wall Street Banks that is at fault?  It is the Democrats stupid!!!  

 

And has been since the Carter Days when banks were FORCED to give out loans to people that the Democrats were paying back for their votes.   Remember when Rev. Jesse Jackson would Blackmail the banks with threats of boycotts if they didn't loan out the money??

Oct 12, 2011 3:39PM
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The only thing these idiots are going to do is make nuisance of themselves.  Here's a newsflash...the banks aren't going anywhere!  What do you think the smaller regional banks are going to do when they get all of this money. 

 

Quit complaining about "the man"!   If youare a contributor to society (employed, taxpaying, solid citizen),  you are probably just fine. 

 

I mean seriously,  it's a $5 charge PER MONTH!  How much do youspend at Starbuck's everyday?!? 

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