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Bank Transfer Day and its Impact a Week Later
NationofChange was on the scene in San Diego on the 5th of November, documenting and marching in solidarity with the Bank Transfer Day and Occupy movements. Protesters, as well as some interested pedestrians, marched at high speed while shouting “Show me what Democracy looks like”, and then in unison “This is what Democracy looks like!” and “The People, United, will never be defeated!” around downtown starting at the San Diego Civic Center. The march stopped at a Bank of America and other local establishments to express frustration and to – most importantly – actively transfer money out of the predatory banking institutions. The human microphone was the most common form of mass communication as we marched, chanted, and displayed our resolve.
Last Saturday people around the world were asked to take part in Bank Transfer Day and transfer their money from big banks to not-for-profit and local financial institutions like credit unions. The boycott hoped to pressure big banks into moving away from the bad practices and fraudulent behavior that has contributed to the ongoing financial crisis.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) conducted a survey which found that Bank Transfer Day brought $90 million in new loans, and $80 million in new savings accounts to credit unions nationwide, illustrating the power of the unified consumer and placing strong pressure on the big banks to get their act together or lose their place at the top.
Even without considering the impact it is having on financial institutions, consumers who switched to credit unions will see long-term benefits from signing up for local banking, as opposed to large banking corporations, by avoiding a pile of costs associated with a banking philosophy that profits from your mistakes and errors.
With stricter rules and stacking fees, as well as a growing distaste for banking institutions which are seen as tax dodgers who are unwilling to contribute to the society that enriched them, banking consumers have been migrating away from big business financial institutions and switching over to credit unions. According to CUNA, between the start of September and November 5th, more than 650,000 people had made the change in to a credit union, compared to only 80,000 people on a normal month and more than the total of all people who switched in 2010. Credit Unions added at least 40,000 new customers on Bank Transfer Day alone, and ABC recently released a report which called the mass migration a “bank revolt,” emphasizing the seriousness of the movement and the public awareness it has bred.
Some banks may have retreated on those $5 debit fees but hundreds of thousands of Americans are on the move, outraged at banking practices in general, and Bank Transfer Day was a success.