Mark your calendars: Bank Transfer Day is coming up this November 5th. If you’re banking with a big corporate bank and you don’t like it, November 5 is the day to jump ship.
Fed up with Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, or whichever large financial institution you deposit your paychecks with? A young woman from Los Angeles has organized a day for people just like you to take the plunge together, and join a credit union.
How Bank Transfer Day Began
The event was started by Kristen Christian, a 27-year-old gallery owner from Los Angeles. Sick of banking with a corporate bank, she decided to make the move to a credit union and bring others with her. So she started a Facebook event called Bank Transfer Day, inviting people to close up their corporate bank accounts in exchange for a local credit union.
The event has captured the zeitgeist, and is rapidly expanding. On Monday, TheStreet.com reported that the event had 6,500 planning to attend. As of now, there are nearly 31,000 people “Attending” the event. (And because this is on Facebook, it’s worth mentioning that more than 5,000 are “Maybe Attending.”) It still has a few weeks to gain steam.
The 99% Is Getting Angry
Between people’s anger about post-Durbin amendment fees, and the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, Bank Transfer Day could not have come at a better time. In fact, their statements blend consumer outrage with the revolutionary rhetoric of OWS; they refer to new checking fees brought on by the Durbin Amendment as a “blatant attack on the 99%.”
Here is a little snip from MyBankTracker readers responding to news of the Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) $5 debit card usage fee:
Behind the Symbolism of Nov. 5
The date of the event and the logo also bear special significance. Early in the morning on November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes was discovered underneath the House of Lords in London with several barrels of gunpowder, with which he and a group of Catholics were planning to kill King James I later that day.
To this day, November 5th is celebrated in England by letting off fireworks. Here in the United States in recent years, the Guy Fawkes mask has become synonymous with Anonymous, the anti-establishment hacker collective.
The logo for the event is a stylized Guy Fawkes with an American flag superimposed on his face. Whether the boycott will have the same destructive force on big banks’ profits as Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder could have had on the House of Lords remains to be seen. If enough customers actually go through with this — instead of just hitting “Attending” or “Like” — it could send a strong message to commercial banks.