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Boycott big banks! Bank Transfer Day is Nov. 5

November 3, 2011

by Melissa Hincha-Ownby

At an Occupy SF protest against big Wall Street banks in San Francisco’s Financial District Sept. 29, Supervisor and mayoral candidate John Avalos announced his proposal for a municipal bank. – Photo: Steve Rhodes
I don’t think that anyone at Bank of America realized just how much of an uproar its planned $5 a month debit fee would cause. Other banks had already announced such fees, but the fees were smaller and were only introduced in select markets. Bank of America’s fee is larger and will affect millions of customers across the nation. Let’s just say that the people are peeved, and one consumer, Kristen Christian, decided to do something about it.

Christian launched the now viral Bank Transfer Day movement. On Nov. 5, Christian and her thousands of followers have vowed to close their accounts at big banks and transfer their money to credit unions — banking institutions owned by their customers and known to provide more personalized customer service.

As would be expected, Bank Transfer Day has its very own Facebook page filled with information about the day and what you can do to help spread the message. The page already has more than 31,000 Likes — not bad for a movement started just a few weeks ago.

So why did Christian decide to do more than simply close her own account? She explains on Facebook:

“I started this because I felt like many of you do. I was tired — tired of the fee increases, tired of not being able to access my money when I need to, tired of them using what little money I have to oppress my brothers and sisters. So I stood up. I’ve been shocked at how many people have stood up alongside me. With each person who RSVPs to this event, my heart swells. Me closing my account all on my lonesome wouldn’t have made a difference to these fat cats. But each of YOU standing up with me … they can’t drown out the noise we’ll make.”

I switched from a big bank to a credit union years ago because the customer service was wretched and I was tired of being treated like an account number, so I can’t participate in Bank Transfer Day. But I support those who do.

How about you? If you have an account at a mega bank, are you planning to take your business elsewhere on Nov. 5?

Melissa Hincha-Ownby is a green business blogger for MNN.com, Mother Nature Network, where this story first appeared. For more information on Bank Transfer Day, email info@banktransferday.org or visit http://banktransferday.org/. To find a credit union in the U.S., go to http://www.findacreditunion.com/.

 

One thought on “Boycott big banks! Bank Transfer Day is Nov. 5

  1. Robert B. Livingston

    I quit using the banks a long time ago and have never regretted it.

    I currently use the San Francisco Federal Credit Union.

    The people there have always gone the extra mile to help me sort out and improve my finances. They are always helpful and friendly in a natural, un-enforced way. They have always treated me with respect.

    I can truly say that the sort of help I got from banks in the past contributed to helping make me destitute and homeless, and that the help I've gotten from my credit union has helped keep my head above water with a roof over my head– and given me hope for better days.

    I was once forced to pay hundreds of dollars in late rent fees once because Washington Mutual (I am glad they are gone!) would not cash a paycheck I received from UCSF in a timely way for petty reasons.

    On the other hand– my credit union helped me multiple times when I faced catastrophe. The worst time my savings and credit were completely exhausted and it seemed I was beyond help– but even then, one of their employees had the initiative to walk me through a way to get help elsewhere (I was able to evade eviction by getting help from RADCO that provides special no-interest emergency loans– I've utilized them 3 times– and paid them back 3 times!).

    Despite all their slick advertising and targeted PR events, the big banks are not really part of our community like I believe my credit union is. When I go to it I know the people there and more: I actually like and trust all the people there.

    The last time I felt that way in a bank was years ago– specifically before 1987 when the Glass-Steagall Act was rewritten to give banksters their license to steal.

    I belatedly realize now it was then that all the friendly little local banks were gobbled up, and the big banks began to run roughshod over our lives.

    Name almost any crime scene or injustice today, and if you look carefully you are likely to find the big banks' "fingerprints" all over them.

    America has taken many bad turns in recent years, but I still hope San Franciscans will help set this benighted country back on the right path.

    This is a great city with great people– and I hope we will all stop sending good to bad by trusting any of our money with the criminal banks.

    Reply

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