November 5 has been designated Bank Transfer Day or Move Your Money day, the day to send the message to the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks that they have failed us.
But it looks like the tsunami has already begun. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) says that some 650,000 people have opened credit unions in the past month – more than in all of 2010.
Customers were livid after Bank of America announced they would introduce a $5 monthly fee for using their debit cards, as a way of keeping their profits high after a new federal law had tried to limit them. But it looks like they’re feeling the heat – earlier this week they scrapped the fee. Other banks have also backed down from planned fees.
“These results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions where, on average, they will save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, lower rates on loans and higher return on savings.” said Bill Cheney, president and CEO of CUNA.
But the big story is the way people are taking control of their own financial future, and returning autonomy to local institutions.
CUNA estimates a total of $4.5 billion has moved out of the big banks. That may not hurt the banks all that much, but as David Dayen notes at FireDogLake, “It’s not about “hurting” the bank’s bottom line. It’s about refusing to participate in a corrupt system of finance, and voting with your wallet to support institutions that are better stewards of your money. It’s not about bringing down the finance sector. It’s a personal issue.”
As CUNA points out, more than 93 million Americans have already chosen a CU over a bank.
Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned by their accountholders, rather than outside investors. Because they are member-owned and not-for-profit, credit unions return their excess earnings back to the members they serve, typically through higher rates on savings accounts, lower rates on loans, and by charging lower and fewer fees. The money stays local and is plowed back into the community.
The next step: Going beyond “Move Your Money” to “Move Our Money” : Getting cities and other institutions to switch from the big banks as well. They’ve already gotten a commitment from the city of San Jose to move their money away from Bank of America.
- Find yourself a local credit union at aSmarterChoice.org
- There’s a great step-by-step list of things to do (that you might not think of) at FearlessRevolution.
- Want to stage a protest? Read how to do it right: ““He has a right to speak”, said the cop to the banker“
- Check out Bank Transfer Day on Facebook - more than 75,000 have already said they’re going to switch!
- More information at Move Our Money USA, including how to organize your own local events.
- Follow related groups on Twitter: NewBottomLine,
- More on YouTube,
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More on bank protests and arrests:
- Stories from Move Your Money day. Did you divorce YOUR abusive bank today?
- “He has a right to speak”, said the cop to the banker
- DON’T close your Citibank account today. They’re arresting people
- Citibank was stupid. Chase bank was smart.
- Citibank arrestees say undercover cops set them up
- New video: inside Citibank as guards prevent Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from leaving.
- Right-wing bloggers freak out as Occupy Oakland storms and “vandalizes” Chase Bank
More on Occupy Wall Street:
- Black bloc radicals tried to derail Occupy Oakland’s General Strike
- Busted! Occupy Oakland police infiltrators exposed on video.
- Police breaking their own rules in declaring unlawful assembly against Occupy Oakland
- Police brutality catapults OWS into the mainstream media
- Bill Maher skewers right-wing idiots who hate Occupy Wall Street
- Going to an OWS protest tomorrow? Read this EFF guide to your cellphone security & rights
- Calvin and Hobbes explain OWS
- Why are they lying about OWS – and why are they getting away with it?
- Why we occupy: David Brin explains that 1957 was NOT better than today (but we could still use a little more change)
- Why we occupy: The Story of Citizens United – Why Democracy Only Works When People Are In Charge
- Find your local occupation at Occupy Together – now planned for more than 1,000 cities! | Twitter |Facebook
- Atlanta: website | Twitter | Livestream |Facebook
- Boston: website | twitter | yfrog | Livestream |Facebook
- Dallas: website | Twitter | Livestream |Facebook
- Los Angeles: Website | Twitter | Livestream |Facebook | Youtube
- New York: website | Twitter | Livestream |Facebook
- Portland: Website | Twitter |Livestream |Facebook
- San Francisco: Website | Twitter |Livestream |Facebook
- Seattle: Livestream (Video) | website | Twitter |Facebook
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