It says a lot about the Internet that the first thing we saw about the November 5 Anti-Bank Action Day was a snide remark. Something along the lines of “Good job dumb hippies, banks are closed on Saturday.” First of all, not true at all! Bank headquarters are closed on Saturday, but most bank branches nationwide are open on Saturdays, at least until noon. And, for those who still have weekday work schedules, Saturday makes a lot more sense than, say, a weekday. Anyway, tomorrow — Saturday, November 5 — is Bank Transfer Day. If you’re still using a Wall Street Bank, meaning any of the big chain banks, it’s time to Occupy your branch office and close your account. And a lot of credit unions are staying open late, so you can go right to your new local credit union and deposit the cashier’s check from BofA or Chase or Wells Fargo or whatever.
Here’s some data from a new Harris Poll on America’s hate affair with Big Banks:
NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Big Banks may be vulnerable to losing customers to credit unions on November 5th, Bank Transfer Day, where according to social media, tens of thousands have signed up to drop Big Banks in favor of joining a credit union. While credit unions enjoy best in class customer retention rates (87% Extremely/Very Likely to Continue), the nation’s largest banks fail to engender the same degrees of loyalty from their customers. For example, only two in five of Bank of America’s customers are extremely or very likely to continue (40%), as are less than half of JP Morgan Chase’s customers (46%) and just over half of Wells Fargo/Wachovia’s customers (54%).
Not everybody can easily get out of the chain banks. If you’ve got a mortgage and credit cards and car loans and all that crap tied up with your checking and savings accounts and bill pay and etc., it is a pain in the ass to quit the bank, as it was intended to be. But even if you just close one account, like the Savings account with $42.09 that earns a few nickels of interest per year, go ahead and do it. Every little bit of business (and capital) you take away from a Big Bank will make a difference!
Here is a heartwarming story that will prove the point: Your editor’s first-grader took part in a school contest to see which class could collect the most unwanted Halloween candy, and the winning class would get a party. Being cynical about such things, your editor first suggested the crappy school’s idea of a “party” would be to just give the unwanted candy back to the “winning class,” and the second (entirely plausible) theory being that the fat teachers would just stash it all in their break room. Still, we rushed to segregate all the lousy treats yesterday morning — candy corn, hard sticks of gum, weird unmarked old-people candy, all the teeth-rotting sticky crap that never quite comes out with the flossing — and that last bag of unwanted treats took the class over the top. They won the party. (Still no idea what “the party” entails, although reports of the dismal letdown will be coming in shortly.) One kid’s shitty dollar-store candy did the trick.
So that $42.09 you take out of that savings account that, honestly, you kind of forgot you still had or otherwise you would’ve PayPal’d it to Babeland or something and gotten yourself a present, it could make a real difference! At the very least, you’re costing the bank that much just to hog the counter for 15 minutes and use that employee’s time and the real estate and the utility bills and the security guard’s hourly subcontracted wage and all the other “costs of doing business” the bank has to recoup by getting $700 billion bailouts from Bush and Obama.
Conversely, getting tiny worthless accounts out of the “consumer banking system” may also help big banks, by reducing the number of low/no-profit accounts they maintain — according to Rupert Murdoch’s journalism department, anyway. So by all means, close those accounts. If Rupert Murdoch says it won’t matter, you want to make sure to do it. And then make sure you take the time this week or next and shut off all your bill pay and whatever, and start your new Credit Union bill pay, and get all that stuff working so that you continue to hurt the banks. (They make a fortune on the “float” between debiting your account and “processing” the immediate electronic payment to your utility or credit card company, which is also a Big Bank, several days later.) Also, don’t borrow money. Just don’t borrow money. Do you know when you need a new car/house/diamond dildo/teevee? When you have the money. Or, when you take those things from The Rich.
Bank Transfer Day is also a great way to take part in the Worldwide Protests without camping out at an actual #OWS site, although we highly recommend you at least visit your neighborhood occupation and drop off some warm gloves and a sack of apples or whatever. Give a hoot! [Bank Transfer Day]