Tens of thousands of Americans moved their money out of Big Banks into smaller banks or credit unions yesterday. The action was part of “National Bank Transfer Day.” The action mostly hinged upon individuals going into banks to close out their accounts with banks like Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, etc, but there were also a number of demonstrations held at banks by occupations all over the country as well.
Ahead of Bank Transfer Day, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) confirmed that the calls for Americans by Occupy protesters and various organizations are having an impact. In the past four weeks, CUNA reported 650,000 Americans joined credit unions. Also, CUNA estimates since September 29, “credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts.”
A combination is responsible for the growing interest in credit unions. Bank of America’s announcement to charge debit card users $5/month stirred up anger. The growing Occupy movement began to draw attention to banking practices pushing more Americans to join in Bank Transfer Day, which was first announced on Facebook.
Big Bank executives now sociopathically threaten consumers willing to wield their power as consumers with the responsibility of forcing them to charge their loyal customers with fees because they chose to change to a credit union. They argue that they have to “recoup revenues” somehow. They are like drug addicts, who need to ensure they can continue to enjoy their high and that high involves being able to give those at the top of the bank millions of dollars in bonuses. It involves being able to place speculative bets against ventures they know are doomed to fail. It involves gambling with Americans’ money to reap huge profits and it also entails upping fees on consumers to make more and more money.
It is so clear that Big Bank executives are cynically hoping they can pit their consumers against consumers with a conscience, who have made a decision to not be linked to their businesses. I assume they expect the people who want to remain Bank of America or Citibank members will see the cost of having an account soar and blame people joining credit unions. Of course, this will just show how banks enjoy a level of protectionism in this country. The act of Americans shifting money away is what happens in a free market that has competition.
As credit unions strengthen because of new members, what will Big Banks do in Washington? I don’t ask that question because I think Big Banks are going to suffocate credit unions and force them to become linked to Big Banks so they can survive and, therefore, consumers fighting back is futile. I simply ask this question because Big Banks have power in Washington and will ask that politicians do something for them if they want to continue to receive huge campaign contributions for their election. So, consumers moving their money should maybe adopt a kind of art of war mentality and anticipate what Big Banks will do next. The ability to predict their next sleazy move will help enrich the “Move Your Money” movement, as well as the movement for economic justice that is the Occupy movement.
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9:23 PM Videographer covering Occupy Oakland shot at by Oakland police
6:59 PM Occupy Boise participants use the “Crapitol” when they have to use the bathroom.
6:56 PM FDLer TarheelDem posted some state-by-state roundups in the comments thread of yesterday’s live blog. The states are primarily southern states.
6:54 PM Introducing Occupy Mosier: “Too Small to Fail”
There are no stoplights, the only gas station closed years ago and there is not a single multinational corporation within five miles. With a population of just 430, Mosier, Oregon will become the smallest U.S. town to have an active Occupy camp. Participants from Mosier and other small communities of the Columbia Gorge are working to highlight their vision for a family-friendly camp that includes music, movies and round-table discussions with the community. While the group has stressed its solidarity with Occupy camps in urban cities across the United States, Occupy Mosier is adopting tactics and strategies they say reflect Wasco County’s rural community values.
6:53 PM A march at Occupy Wall Street has headed to central bookings to support those who were arrested yesterday.
5:08 PM Occupy Vermont protests at a Democratic Party fundraiser
5:04 PM Video of this older woman with the Granny Peace Brigade who police found to be dangerous. That is why they grabbed her and made sure she got penned in behind some orange netting and when she couldn’t move they made an arrest. [New York's finest in action.]
5:01 PM MF Global bankruptcy impacts Iowa farmers
4:58 PM Unfortunate news from Occupy Bloomington – A man was found dead in a tent. Bloomington police arrived on the scene and were unable to revive him. The coroner is saying he died of “natural causes.” That is good. The city has been pretty supportive. I happen to doubt that this will have the same effect that the death of a woman at Occupy Vancouver is having, but this news is just breaking so hard to definitively conclude that there will be no pressure on Occupy Bloomington to vacate People’s Park.
4:44 PM A number of people from Occupy DC have been showing solidarity with a anti-Keystone XL pipeline demonstration at the White House. The Tar Sands Action Twitter account just reported a big crowd broke away and was chanting “We are the 99%.”
Watch the live stream from the action.
4:40 PM Actress Bette Midler would donate porta-potties to Occupy Wall Street (if they were permitted)
4:38 PM Former Vice President Al Gore says Occupy Wall Street has already been a success
11:47 AM Occupy Fresno: 40 arrested, police arrive in riot gear
11:30 AM Occupy Fort Collins (in Colorado) must move tents from the area they have been occupying for several weeks.
11:28 AM Mayor of Vancouver cites death of woman at Occupy Vancouver and calls for the occupation to be shut down.
11:25 AM 20 arrests at Occupy Atlanta last night. Also, here is a video of a police officer using a motorcycle to run over protesters and disperse them: