In the past four weeks, outrage at the big banks has already caused 650,000 Americans to dump the big banks, and move their money to credit unions.
According to the Credit Union National Association,
At least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions in the past four weeks, reflecting consumers’ reactions to rising fees at banks, according to a survey by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
They have joined credit unions since Sept. 29, when Bank of America (BofA) unveiled its plans to charge $5 a month for debit cards. The public outcry the past month has forced BofA and other big banks to reconsider their debit fees.
CUNA estimates that credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts. More than four in every five credit unions experiencing growth since Sept. 29 attributed the growth to consumer reaction to new fees imposed by banks, or a combination of consumer reactions to the new bank fees plus the social media-inspired Bank Transfer Day. Bank Transfer Day, which is tomorrow, urges consumers to switch from big banks to smaller credit unions and community banks.
By “social media inspired Bank Transfer Day,” the CUNA means the Bank Transfer Day movement. Except for Sen. Bernie Sanders, political support for consumers leaving the big banks has been virtually non-existent. This is being done without the politicians. It is all the work of the people.
It would be easy to lump Bank Transfer Day and Occupy Wall Street together, but they aren’t the same movement. The Bank Transfer Day Facebook page states, “While the Bank Transfer Day movement acknowledges the enthusiasm from Occupy Wall Street, the Bank Transfer Day movement was neither inspired by, derived from nor organized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Bank Transfer Day movement does not endorse any activities conducted by Occupy Wall Street.”
Both movements do share common supporters, but they aren’t affiliated with one another. Occupy Wall Street is showing the one percent what a protest movement can achieve, and Bank Transfer Day is showing the big banks the power of a consumer movement. Each movement is important, and they appear to share some common goals, but they differ in methodology.
Bank Transfer Day is more than a consumer reaction to a five dollar debit card fee. It is also a push back against corporate oppression. As founder Kristen Christian said, “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 & sisters. So I stood up…”
Bank Transfer Day and Occupy Wall Street are both about a feeling in America. People are tired of being abused by corporate power. They are sick of a system that refuses to hear them, and they are fighting back.
The people are winning on the streets with Occupy Wall Street, and they are hitting the corporate beast where it hurts most with Bank Transfer Day. Power is shifting. A change is coming. Move your money, and make your voice heard.
Image: Bank Transfer Day
H/T: Thom Hartmann