Monday, October 24, 2011

Bank Transfer Day

Bank Transfer Day is a boycott initiative calling for a voluntary switch from commercial banks to not-for-profit credit unions by November 5, 2011.

This action is attributed to Kristen Christian who claims that this is not an "Occupy" event... but just something she started on Facebook:
She says it has nothing to do with Occupy L.A. and its Occupy Wall Street sister movement. ...

Yet the timing of L.A. gallery owner Kristen Christian's idea couldn't have been better for those fed up with corporate banks that took billions in taxpayer bailout money in 2008 and are now find that it's okay to ream the American people with exorbitant debit card and account fees.

Christian's brainchild, posted to 500 of her friends on Facebook, was quite simple:

If you don't want to pay the likes of Bank of America $5 a month to access your money via debit card, just transfer your cash to your friendly, local credit union.

"I was tired of paying for fees for inadequate services," the 27-year-old founder of Le Spec Gallery near Koreatown tells the Weekly. "I found it disgusting that a large and wealthy corporation would target the working class, especially after the bailout money." ...

Now she has a Facebook page specifically for Bank Transfer Day and 28,000 supporters nationwide.

"The event turned into a movement," she says "It's a peaceful boycott of corporate banking started by one citizen." ...

By the way, the credit union she chose in defiance of Wall Street banks?

Coast Hills Credit Union which is near her hometown of Arroyo Grande.
The Facebook page states this:
The event was created by Kristen Christian, a private citizen and small business owner with no affiliations to Anonymous or Occupy Wall Street. While she's now a proud member of Coast Hills Credit Union (based in Lompoc, CA) and Los Angeles Federal Credit Union, she's not a credit union employee. She's received no public or private donations for her efforts or costs associated with this movement. Every bit of work on BTD is a testament to her love for her community & neighbors. She genuinely believes we can pull ourselves out of this economic mess the big banks caused by investing in local not-for-profit credit unions.

The Durbin Amendment is 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. The Act allows the Federal Reserve to regulate debit card interchange fees of banks with over $10 billion in assets. Over the summer, the Fed released the final rule on the matter by limiting debit card interchange fees to a maximum of 21¢ per transaction.

In response, these corporate-level banks have decided that beginning early 2012 any consumer with less than $20,000 in combined accounts will be charged a monthly $3-5 fee if they use their debit card at any point during the month. This new fee clearly targets the impoverished & working class. After endless research, the organizer concluded that her money would be put to better use on the local level through not-for-profit credit unions.

• With the Durbin Amendment in effect, banks will still make 19¢ profit per processed transaction [*1]

• The average consumer uses his/her debit card 24 times per month [*2]

• 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 [*3]

• Without the additional fee, Wells Fargo stands to turn a $2,626,560,000 annual profit from its 48 million customers' debit card transactions [*4]

• 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 [*5]

The organizer, Kristen Christian has said, "I started this because I felt like many of you do. I was tired-- tired of the fee increases, tired of not being able to access my money when I need to, tired of them using what little money I have to oppress my brothers & sisters. So I stood up. I've been shocked at how many people have stood up alongside me. With each person who RSVPs to this event, my heart swells. Me closing my account all on my lonesome wouldn't have made a difference to these fat cats. But each of YOU standing up with me... they can't drown out the noise we'll make."







This is the beauty of the free market - you get to choose who to do business with!

The premise is that banking with a truly local bank is better than a corporate-level bank because credit unions will have more of a positive impact on the consumer and the local community. It is thought that the more business that credit unions have, the more loans with low rates they will be able to offer to small and medium-sized businesses locally. This will increase growth at the local level as these businesses are able to expand and hire additional employees.

There are those who think this is some big conspiracy to bring down the mega banks and cause a bank run and topple the US economy (as if Bernanke hasn't already set us on that path). Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Kristen does use the terms "brothers and sisters" along with the word oppression and working class. That does sound a bit "Commie"... but I don't believe the conspiracy notion. That being said, I do think that in the end this whole world and national banking cartel mess is set to implode just the same. We have only just begun to see the theft of our fiat based assets through inflation, and what is going on in Europe with their banking and insolvency mess will certainly touch our markets as well.

But honestly, if local credit unions can give you just as good if not a better deal, then maybe a transfer is a good idea. Personally, I prefer dealing with local businesses. I'll shop in a mom and pop store before I shop at a Walmart.

This current financial crisis and the coming tsunami of misery that we will experience as a result of horrendous national and global monetary policy is going to require us to build REAL communities. We might as well start doing that now.

We need to support local farmers, local banks, local stores and local businesses. We will each have to learn some self sufficiency, because the government is not going to be able to help us.

Buy Local. Shop Local. Bank Local.

By the way - here is a wonderful and thoughtful analysis about Occupy Wall Street from Ragamuffin Studies.