Saturday, November 5, 2011

Move Your Money

by Pa Rock

Bank of America made its now infamous decision to start charging a $5.00 monthly service charge on its debit cards on September 29th, and the firestorm that arose over that blatant banditry created a massive shift in where Americans keep their money.  In fact, for the thirty days following that greedy maneuver, more Americans transferred their money into credit unions than in the entirety of 2010.

The move to raise debit card fees by Bank of America galvanized the American public and gave them the resolve to begin fighting back against robber corporations.  (And, coincidentally, it folded in nicely with the Occupy Wall Street movement that was just a couple of weeks old at that time.)  Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois suggested that one way to do that was for average Americans to begin moving their money to smaller banks and to credit unions.  Now they are doing just that - and in record numbers!

Yesterday (Saturday) was "Move Your Money" day, the highlight of a nonprofit campaign that encourages individuals and institutions to take their money out of the nation's largest banks and move it into local financial institutions.    The campaign stresses the importance of investing in Main Street over Wall Street, ending "too big to fail," having fewer fees and more savings, getting more personal services, and lending a hand to local businesses.

There was an entry by a diarist at Daily Kos today who chronicled his sister's attempts to remove her considerable savings from three large banks.   At the first bank, Wells Fargo, she was told that it would be a simple matter - simple that is until the clerk saw the size of the account.  A thirty-year-old branch manager was trotted out to  try and talk her out of closing the account and taking it to a credit union.  After finally relenting, the young man told her that she would be back because a credit union would not be able to provide the services that she would need.

(I'm betting that he was wrong - and probably lying to boot.)

The second bank was the odious Bank of America.   That institution refused to give her all of her money.  They said they had a limit on the size of check that they could cut.  She got one third of her money and was told to come back another day for the remainder.  (And, don't forget - it was her money!)  The man accompanying his sister to BOA said that there was a line of people waiting to close their accounts!

The third bank on the lady's hit list was Sun Trust.  The diarist described the branch manager there as going "off his rocker."  He said the guy asked about twenty times if there was anything he could do to get her to change her mind.  There wasn't.

And so it goes.  The government may feel that these financial behemoths are too big to fail, but the American public apparently does not.  The government needs to pay attention to what is happening!

1 comment:

WiseFather said...

I made a video protest recently for my blog. It is quite funny even if you are pro-megabank. I called my credit card's customer service line to do some negotiating. Having a bit of leverage, I thought it presented a great opportunity to mess with them a little and make a few points about the unfairness of the credit card lending system. Since it's a protest at home, I called it my kitchen counterstrike against Bank of America. I think you might enjoy it.