Heralded as the day when "banking institutions will ALWAYS remember the 5th of November," Bank Transfer Day is powered by one woman's quest to say "no" to high banking fees and "yes" to credit unions.
Bank Transfer Day was initiated by small business owner, Kristen Christian who told KTLA Live that she was sick and tired of being beholden to ever-changing big bank fees for very little value.
"I was tired of paying outrageous fees to banks for a severe lack of services. I was tired of having my money access determined by a corporation and the final straw because I was tired of banks targeting the impoverished and working class."
Christian says that she decided to mark one day where consumers could send a message to large multi-national banks by moving their accounts from the bank to a credit union.
She chose November 5th because of its notoriety as being Guy Fawkes Day A day when an attack on the English Parliament building was thwarted.
The Movement is Quickly Gaining Support
Amid the loud shouts from Occupy Wall Street, Christian says that she has no affiliation to the "Occupy" movement although her crusade is getting nods and support from that group.
She tells The Village Voice, "I've been in contact with (Occupy Wall Street) members from Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where I live... some of them have been taking it upon themselves to post on their Facebook pages and websites. But this is literally a private citizen who had enough. In terms of what you are going to accomplish with a sign, standing on the sidewalk -- you can't just sit in a public street until you get your way. This is taking direct action, saying OK, we've had enough. I think that's why we've garnered so most support."
Adding tremendous fuel to her efforts is Facebook where approximately 51,000 people have RSVP'd to this event in an effort to kick their bank to the curb.
Bank Transfer Day's Facebook mission statement says, "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 to non-profit credit unions on or by this date, we will send a clear message to the 1% that conscious consumers won't support companies with unethical business practices."
Additionally, Facebook statistics report that 22,129 people have liked the event page and 16,1010 people are talking about it as of October 22.
Who is Going to Move Their Money?
Bank Transfer Day supporters are sounding off on Facebook with some saying,
"Noted on my calendar..One more (very) important thing to do..."
"I already belong to a credit union. Have for years! :-)"
"This week I'm voting with my bank accounts, later I'll be working to vote out the politician's who have failed to address Too Big To Fail while they take the banks money. We are the 99%, and we will not be ignored."
"We are leaving BofA too. :) Opened an account with BECU -- just waiting for all of our transfers to be complete and then it's DOWN with BofA!!"
The trail of comments is almost endless as more and more people are discovering ( or re-discovering) credit unions.
Matt Smith of Detroit, Michigan said that he's been long gone from banks. "I'm glad I'm not with a bank. I left those clowns years ago."
Similarly, Berkeley California resident Bob Ferrer said that he had already left Bank of America, but parked his dough at a community bank.
"I guess I'm not participating," Ferrer says. "I already moved out of Bank of America and into a small, local bank. I'm not sure why I'd move on to a credit union. My bank is Mechanics Bank. The people are nice. Whenever I call their 800 number, I get a live person. I never have to talk to anyone through a sheet of bullet-proof glass again."
Jane McCreary of Wixom, Michigan may be joining the movement and says, "I'm seriously considering a move to one of our community credit unions. I've been checking around and can't believe the difference in fees and rates."
The Other Side of the Coin...
However not everyone has committed to leaving their bank and going to a credit union. For example, Milford, Michigan resident Greg Brainer feels that the issue goes much deeper than sending a message by transferring to a credit union.
"Our Bill of Rights and Constitution leave us powerless to change the situation on our own," Brainer explains. "We do not have the ability like we do on the state levels to have ballot proposals introduced by citizens or action groups on the federal level. Simply saying, 'vote out' your current representatives does not work with a system so large and out of control."
"So in reality any little protest or attempt at making a statement by things such as Bank Transfer Day is futile," Brainer adds.
At the same time, there are other consumers who plan to stand by their bank. Kathleen Richards of Plantation, Florida says that she isn't closing her Bank of America account and believes the products and services are well worth any nominal fee.
"I'm sticking with Bank of America," Richards says. "I like the ability to pay my bills online and transfer money between accounts - services that may not be available with a credit union. I also like the convenience of having access to 'free' ATM's almost anywhere in the country."
Richards adds that she doesn't want to switch to a credit union or smaller bank and end up paying more for ATM fees because she would be forced to use an out of network ATMs due to lack of availability.
"The $5 monthly debit card fee is fair when you consider that the banks incur an expense every time you swipe your debit card," Richards says. "In the past the banks shared the cost of processing the transaction with the merchant, but recently passed government regulation reduced the amount the merchant had to pay. The banks were then challenged with making up the difference. For me, an additional $5 a month is worth the benefits and services that Bank of America has to offer."
Ready to make the switch, find a credit union and move your money today.