Bank Transfer Day
While everyone was distracted by what Charles Krauthammer delightfully described as, the “Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters (of the Occupy Wall Street movement who) denounce corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over…,” a new social uprising term has entered the public discourse. Saturday, November 5 is “Bank Transfer Day.”
According to the uprising’s meager beginnings on Facebook, created by a small business owner, Kristen Christian, 27, a small art gallery owner in Los Angles, citizens are encouraged to take their money out of the blood-sucking vampire squid mega-banks and put it in smaller community banks or more specifically, credit unions.
“Mostly just, I was tired. I was tired of being charged bank fee after bank fee after bank fee… When they decided to react so negatively to the Durbin Amendment, that made me sick…”
As opposed to the Occupy Wall Street protests, which appear to be a mobocracy of themeless, clueless anarchists on holiday, Bank Transfer Day has a well-defined and articulated goal, with a specific action plan.
Much of the mainstream media and leftist Democrats want you to believe that Bank Transfer Day is an offshoot grass-roots effort spawned by the Occupy Wall Street anarchists-without-a-clue.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Fortunately, multiple media accounts are now beginning to report that Ms. Christian says, “it's not an Occupy Wall Street-organized event, though members of the Occupied movement support the idea and are planning to join in. Further, it's not an effort based in anarchy, or an event that Christian hopes will cause an economic crisis (any more than the one we're already in.)”
Ms. Christian explained in the Village Voice article: “I've been very careful to state that this is not about bringing down the Fed, it's not anarchy. We've gotten quite a few people saying this will cause an economic collapse. Yeah, we may be out the money we gave the banks for the bailout, but it's not people taking their money and burying it under their mattress. It's shifting the money to a company people respect the practices of. It's like, if you don't like Wal-Mart's practices, shopping at a local grocery store instead.
“This is not an act of terrorism or treason, it's a boycott. It's as simple as that.”
Ms. Christian, who only started the initiative around October 4, is reported in a Time Moneyland article, to have chosen “Nov. 5 because of its association with 17th century British folk hero Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the House of Lords but was captured on that date in 1605.”
However, in the Village Voice interview, Ms. Christian notes, “I picked the 5th because I hope this will give a new name to the 5th of November – not as a failed terrorist attack but as Americans standing up and saying we've had enough.”
In an interview with Jen A. Miller in Interest.com, Ms. Christian explained the advantages she sees with banking with a credit union, “Not-for-profit credit unions offer each member lower fees, improved and individualized customer service, lower interest rates on loans, higher returns on savings and the opportunity to invest in the local community's economic growth.
“While each credit union has a board of directors, they aren't compensated financially for their time or energy commitments.
“In addition, credit unions offer members the opportunity to vote on any major changes that the institution is considering (such as mergers with other credit unions).”
Much of which was echoed in a Forbes magazine article from June 1, 2011, “Pros And Cons Of Credit Unions – And There Aren't Many Cons,” by Sierra Black, in a post provided by SavingsAccounts.com.
“Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions that do most of what banks do… Credit unions are typically small, local institutions, serving a specific local population…
“What sets credit unions apart from banks is their non-profit status and their membership requirements. Credit unions are member owned, so they have no shareholders to be accountable to. The only people a credit union needs to make happy are its customers. As a result, they often have better interest rates and lower fees than regular, for-profit banks.”
This is certainly not the first highly touted online bank customer revolt, but hopefully it will be historic – and successful. After all, there is no better approach to behavior modification than market forces. Although a highly successful wholesale transfer of funds may not cause the break-up of the vampire squids, that are too big to manage, into smaller business units, one can only hope.
If you are considering moving your accounts away from the predatory vampire squids, please do not overlook the community banks – and the smaller regional banks, for that matter.
Pick a local bank that did not accept a TARP bailout and one that supports the local community, makes loans to local families and small businesses and has a cost-effective fee structure that is based on providing you with personalized service.
And most importantly, as best said by Ms. Christian: “I do note here to all supporters that any bank employee you will ever come into contact with receives just over $10 per hour in compensation for their time… I implore all supporters to treat these employees with nothing but kindness and professionalism.”
In other words, as someone wise once said, be kind for everyone is fighting a great battle these days…
… I’m just saying.