The Facts and Realities of Bank Transfer Day
Saturday, November 5th has been declared National Bank Transfer Day—a movement backed by Occupy Wall Street and civil disobedience group Anonymous, calling for disgruntled citizens across the country to cut ties with large financial institutions once and for all and switch to not-for-profit credit unions.
But, wait—not so fast. Don’t clear Saturday's calendar for a day of reckoning and dissent at your local Chase or mourning of the demise of your favorite Wells Fargo branch (whatever your cup of tea may be) just yet.
While November 5th is the official date of rebellion, the basic reality is that those who desire to break up with their banks should have already gotten the ball rolling. Bank Transfer Day is supposed to be a deadline, not a starting pistol.
Kristen Christian, the art gallery owner who started the movement to protest Bank of America’s “ridiculous fees and poor customer service,” says that her intention was not to inspire an entire nation to pull its money from banks on one day.
“Bank Transfer Day has always recommended that supporters open credit union accounts in anticipation of independently closing accounts with banking institutions before the November 5th deadline goal,” Christian told the Wall Street Journal in an email message.
What’s more, the Federal Reserve is closed on Saturdays so money won’t be transferred between institutions before the weekend is through.
Some analysts actually expect that Bank Transfer Day will prove to be beneficial to big banks, as it will remove small accounts from bank balance sheets.
“In essence, by eliminating a percentage of the less profitable customers, the movement could improve customer profitability overall for the bank,” Novantas Analyst Hank Isreal told The Daily.
According to the Credit Union National Association, its members have added over 650,000 new customers since the movement started, which equals about 1 percent of the country’s total bank accounts.
Overall, the movement has gained a significant amount of momentum over the last few weeks and major banks announced Tuesday that they would no longer charge debit card fees.
This infographic, created by MNN, gives an in-depth explanation of the movement’s evolution and successes:
Anonymous National Bank Transfer Day video: