By Leilani Clark
The brainchild of 27-year-old art-gallery owner Kristen Christian, Bank Transfer Day, set for Nov. 5, hopes to inspire people to move their money out of Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo and into local credit unions.
"If the 99 percent removes our funds from the major banking institutions, we will send a clear message to the 1 percent that conscious consumers won't support companies with unethical business practices," Christian writes on the Bank Transfer Day Facebook page.
Local credit unions are already seeing an upswing in customers. "We've definitely seen an increase in new accounts," says Robin McKenzie, senior vice president of Redwood Credit Union, adding that since Bank of America's Oct. 5 announcement of a $5 debit card fee, RCU has opened over 300 new accounts by former BofA members.
David Williams, vice president of marketing at Community First Credit Union, welcomes the move toward locally grown financial institutions, though he does emphasize that there are "good banks" out there.
"I'd like to recast [Bank Transfer Day] as a transfer out of giant Wall Street banks to local financial institutions, whether they are banks or credit unions," says Williams. "Locally, that would include Exchange Bank. There are good banks that do what we do." The priority should be to keep locally earned dollars in local circulation, says Williams. "With the global banks, they are going for the best return on the dollar," he adds. "That might be used to fund an oil derrick in Dubai, whereas the community banks and credit unions keep that money and reinvested right here."
For more information, visit www.moveyourmoneyproject.org.
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