“But I’m just a tiny consumer and they’re a humongous financial institution!” Uh…NO.
Never doubt that you can make a difference. According to research/consulting firm Javelin Strategy and Research:
Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy Movement have received tremendous attention, and for the first time we have market research data to measure the impact on the financial services industry. Javelin’s research estimates that 5.6 million U.S. adults with a banking relationship changed providers in the past 90 days. Of those switchers, 610,000 US adults (or 11% of the 5.6 million) cited Bank Transfer Day as their reason and actually moved their accounts from a large to a small institution. With a Google search of “bank transfer day” returning fully 22,000,000 responses we’re not surprised that these angry bank-switchers represent nearly a three-time increase over the amount of people who took their funds out of large banks for highly-similar reasons during the previous 90-day period in 2011.
ThinkProgressnotes that this movement has hit Bank of America especially hard:
Account closures at Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank, actually jumped 20 percentin the fourth quarter of last year, potentially driven by the bank’s ill-fated decision to implement a $5 monthly fee for its debt cards.
According to the consulting firm cg42, the nation’s 10 biggest banks could lose as much as $185 billion in deposits this year due to customer defections. Of those banks, “Bank of America is the most vulnerable and could lose up to 10% of its customers and $42 billion in consumer deposits.” (HT: Business Insider)
They also report that the month of October 2011 saw more people open new credit union accounts than usually sign up in an entire year.
If you haven’t transferred your money out of the big banks yet, do it! Shop around–you might be surprised at what you discover. Some local banks, to make up for a smaller range of ATM locations, will reimburse you for other banks’ ATM fees. Two local banks in my area do this, and they offer nice cash bonuses for starting a new account with direct deposit, to boot.