Should Your Money Occupy A Credit Union? Nov. 5 is National Bank Transfer Day
Since mid-October, when many of the "Occupy" movements in cities across the country launched in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, there has been a companion rally cry against the banking industry, and how their fees affect customers. When Bank of America announced they were going to implement a $5 monthly fee for debit card users, Americans signed on in protest, and BofA relented. Still, Americans are mad as hell about big banks, and on Saturday, November 5, they will not take it any more: It's Bank Transfer Day.
Bank Transfer Day is said to have originated in Los Angeles, when 27-year-old gallery owner Kristen Christian declared on her personal Facebook that she was urging those pissed off at the BofA debit charges to simply move their money to a "friendly, local credit union."
The notion caught on, and, inspired by Guy Fawkes, November 5 was declared the official day on or by which hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to have closed their accounts at major U.S. banks and taken their bucks to a credit union.
It hasn't been a small movement: In the past month, about 650,000 Americans have opened accounts at credit unions, reports TIME, adding: "By way of comparison, credit unions only had 600,000 new customers open accounts in all of 2010."
But will moving your account from a "big bank" into a credit union be to your advantage? And will it send a message to the so-called 1% that the bulk of Americans won't tolerate fiscal abuse?
The responses are mixed. Reuters says that the purported big switch will actually be good for the big banks. In Oakland, where the Occupy protest, backlash, and strike, has gained national attention, many advocacy groups are urging Bay Area residents to move their money to smaller customer-centric banks and credit unions.
The actual funds that will get moved over, however, are characterized by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington as a mere "drop in the bucket" when it comes to the American pool of money. However, it may not be a wasted move: "But it contributes to the sentiment that we have to change the way banks operate."
Big Banks will need to make real changes to earn back the trust of their customers. Even more, they'll need to do it quickly before a regional competitor, community bank, or credit union figures out how to make it simple for customers to switch to partners who provide an exceptional customer experience.
There are drawbacks to credit unions, many consumers fear, including limited access to ATMs, as well as less online and mobile services.
Is a credit union for you? Business Insider has a quiz called "Should You Make the Switch?" to help you decide.