As the year winds down, it’s time for deep introspection and reflection on 2011. Luckily in the media world “deep introspection” means looking through popular headlines of 2011.

We decided to look back on 2011 to see how the banking world shifted, and where we think it’s going in the upcoming year. We took a look at our numbers and came up with the most talked about/popular themes from 2011.

5. Walmart Takes A Stab At Finance

Walmart has been consistently making headlines in the financial world this year. But instead of getting attention for absurdly low prices, the super store was in the headlines for another reason: it’s attempt to replicate the banking experience. By slowly rolling out financial services to serve the unbanked, Walmart was posing a bigger and bigger threat to banks. But our very own Simon Zhen points out that the too-big-to-fail banks had nothing to be concerned about.

4. Occupy Wall Street Inspires Bank Transfer Day

The Occupy Wall Street protests had to be the most sensational story of the year as many American’s followed the growth of the movement. From macing to union support, the #OWS protest provided a lot to talk about. One of the biggest indicators of the movement’s power was Bank Transfer Day. On November 5, 2011, many Americans affiliated with Occupy Wall Street (and not) vowed to transfer to their accounts from banks to credit unions. Although initially reported as very successful, it was later reported that the banks didn’t really mind losing these customers.

3. Debit Card Fees Add Fuel to the Fire

In what was the worst timing on the face of the earth, some banks started toying with the idea of debit card fees. The one bank that got the biggest flak for this is Bank of America, which introduced a $5 debit card and later retracted it in response to public backlash. Many other banks took similar steps and either nixed plans to introduce them, or got rid of their debit card fees all together.

Although Bank of America got the most attention for its plans to introduce these fees, it wasn’t the first bank to introduce the idea. SunTrust lead the way by dropping free checking along while moving forward with a plan to add a $5 debit cardfee in July. This plan didn’t last long as they scrapped the idea along with all the other major banks.

2. Free Checking Meets Its Fate

Going along with debit card fee drama, free checking accounts met their fate this year as banks struggled to retain profits with the Dodd-Frank regulations. As the 2011 year kicked off, it seemed like free checking accounts were dropping left and right. Consumers definitely took notice as the largest stories on our site revolved around fee structure changes.

Chase made huge headlines as they changed their checking fees and many other banks were soon to follow.

1. Mobile Banking Biggest Trend of 2011

Mobile Banking made the biggest waves this year as it provided a huge convenience to technologically-savvy consumers. Mobile deposit via smartphone was the biggest perk as consumers could save gas and time as they ran different errands. In theme with most of its innovations, USAA Bank was the first to offer this service to its customers bank in 2009.

Chase upped the game for all big banks when it offered mobile deposit last year. In 2011, mobile became the expectation as opposed to a perk as proven by the eager commenters on this Bank of America story.




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