WHILE NOT OFFICIALLY A PART OF Occupy Wall Street, this event could be essential to the overall movement. Protesting peacefully outside of a bank is one way to express your opinion and attempt to bring about change, but exercising your right as a consumer and simply taking your business away from said bank may be even more powerful.
Organizer Kristen Christian started Bank Transfer Day because she, like so many of us, was tired of the endless fee increases imposed by banks, not to mention how difficult they made it to actually access her money. She did a little research and discovered a few more infuriating facts:
- With the Durbin Amendment (an add-on to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law No. 111-203), signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010) in effect, banks will still make 19¢ profit per processed transaction
- The average consumer uses his/her debit card 24 times per month
- Without the additional fee, Bank of America stands to turn a $3,228,480,000 annual profit from its 59 million customers’ debit card transactions
- Without the additional fee, Wells Fargo stands to turn a $2,626,560,000 annual profit from its 48 million customers’ debit card transactions
- Without the additional fee, JP Morgan (Chase) stands to turn a $4,924,800,000 annual profit from its 90 million customers’ debit card transactions
Getting out of my bank and into a credit union is something I’ve been considering since well before the protests, but haven’t done out of sheer laziness. Not just because of the effort required to close one account and open another, but because credit unions are typically community based, and I move fairly frequently.
But this kind of apathy is exactly what banks will be counting on. For my part, I’ve decided that it’s time to go beyond talking about my discontent and actually do something about it, inconveniences be damned. I’m closing my bank account next month and switching to a credit union.
How about you? Do you think Bank Transfer Day will have any effect on the Occupy Wall Street movement?