Credit unions and small banks across the country reported a boon in account openings this weekend thanks to the Bank Transfer Day and Move Your Money initiatives. Both grassroots efforts, the movements encouraged consumers to use their money as their voice in protest over increasing banking fees from the larger institutions.
The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) reported a tripling in new checking account openings this weekend in several cities nationwide, including Seattle, Charlotte and Maryland. According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), around 650,000 banking customers opened new credit union savings accounts in October, totaling more than $4 billion. The NAFCU also reported a 700% increase in new account openings last month compared to October 2010.
According to the Bank Transfer Day Facebook page, the movement was started to protest the additional fees proposed by major banks including Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. The banks all proposed debit-card usage fees of $3 to $5 per month. All three banks retracted after customers backlash.
While it’s too soon to tell if the movements will have any real impact on the big banks, early data shows consumers were outraged enough to make the switch.
“This was really a vote for Main Street over Wall Street,” says NAFCU spokesperson Patty Briotta. “I think it’s no coincidence that the Charlotte metropolitan area is where Bank of America is headquartered, and that is one of the cities where we saw the most new accounts opened.”