October 13th, 2011
Will Bank Transfer Day Take Down Big Banks?
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Occupy Wall Street has received a lot of media attention due in large part to the protests and arrests occurring in New York and other major cities. Many consider the conversation around the dissatisfaction of banks to be a constructive idea, yet despite their growing following, Occupy Wall Street has yet to put any plans into motion to change the system.
That all changed this past week when an event called “Bank Transfer Day” emerged on Facebook encouraging people to switch from their current bank to a credit union by Nov. 5. While the event’s creator is not directly tied to Occupy Wall Street, many of its followers have shown support for the event, and it could mark the turning point for the movement.
Bank Transfer Day > Guy Fawkes Day?
Guy Fawkes Day, the spirited day observed in England for the capture of Guy Fawkes after his attempt to blow up Parliament, will now also be known as Bank Transfer Day. Started by Kristen Christian, a 27-year-old gallery owner in Los Angeles, this grassroots event continues to gain supporters (32,244 at time of press). Their mission is emblazoned on the event’s Facebook page:
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.
To accomplish the desired outcome, the event’s coordinators are instructing consumers to open a new account with a credit union and transfer their funds on or before Nov. 5.
Blast from the past
This isn’t the first time an anti-bank movement has sprouted from the media. Two years ago, Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, made a similar call to action for consumers to move their money from the “too-big-to-fail banks.”
She supported Move Your Money Project, which for the past three years has worked to empower consumers to move away from big banks and toward not-for-profit credit unions and community banks. Today, the message is still the same.
What does it all mean?
Whether you’re for or against banks and their new fees, the most important thing to take away from this is that you have a choice. While some people may choose to leave the world of banks behind in favor of a credit union, the reality of the matter is that big banks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
By educating yourself on your banking options, you have the power to choose where you bank and the fees you’re willing to pay. Being savvier about your banking options and not taking these types of changes lying down will be your greatest asset in handling future changes in the banking world.
Looking for some honest opinions on financial products? Check out Credit Karma’s reviews section.
Give credit where credit is due,
Danielle Belfatto, Karma Contributor