This past Saturday, thousands of Americans woke up and went to the bank. But instead of conducting “typical” transactions – making deposits, taking cash from the ATM, paying bills – they closed the accounts entirely and took their money directly to their nearest credit union, spurred by the “Bank Transfer Day” movement that was begun on Facebook by Kristen Christian. By November 5, more than 85,000 individuals had pledged via the social networking site to participate.
According to the Penninsula Press, Christian gave an interview to the Village Voice wherein she explained that her movement was independent of both Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street.
“This is not about bringing down the Fed, it’s not anarchy. … It`s shifting the money to a company people respect the practices of,” she said. “It`s like, if you don`t like Wal-Mart`s practices, shopping at a local grocery store instead.”
Credit Unions across the country have been experiencing a surge in new account openings recently, especially after the announcement made by many big retail banks including Bank of America and Wells Fargo that they would be instituting a new monthly fee for debit card usage. The plans to implement such fees have been cancelled by most banks dues to the impassioned consumer uproar.
The San Jose Credit Union in California was open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, a day when they are usually closed for business. In Seattle, the Boeing Employees` Credit Union reported that they gained 659 new members on the 5th, setting a branch record for new accounts opened in a single day.
Ironically, Bank Transfer Day may wind up helping big banks rather than hurting them, by ridding them of some of their least profitable customers.
At the conclusion of Bank Transfer Day, a new movement started, and this one is aimed at Credit Card Debt. “Balance Transfer Day” has been scheduled for December 11, 2011. From the Balance Transfer Day Manifesto:
“December 11, 2011 we all will apply for a Balance Transfer of our debt to a credit card with zero interest rate. This will be our bail out. Let’s show the banks we are not going to accept high interest rates on Debt!” (read more at facebook.com/balancetransferday)