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Bank Transfer Day

This article was written by in Banking. 13 comments.


Kristen Christian has declared November 5, 2011 to be Bank Transfer Day. Fed up with the big banks’ claims that regulation would make the institutions unprofitable, and with research to back that up, Kristen started a movement on Facebook to encourage more people to withdraw money from large banks and use these funds to open accounts at non-profit, member-owned credit unions. The movement, not related to Occupy Wall Street or Anonymous, has been gaining momentum in the media and among the public.

Here are the actions that Kristen is suggesting, and if you plan to do the same, you can respond to this Facebook event.

  • Use this kit and checklist for planning your switch from one bank to another.
  • Research your local credit union options. In the United States, search here. Here are links for Canada and the United Kingdom.
  • Open an account with the one that best suits your needs. You will likely find a credit union that is convenient for you.
  • Cancel all automatic withdrawals and deposits. It’s important to change any direct deposits or automated withdrawals and bill payments. Missing these details could be costly.
  • Transfer your funds to the new account. Thanks to the convenience of ACH transfers, this will be the easiest step.
  • Follow your bank’s procedures to close your account before November 5. Some banks allow their customers’ accounts to be closed online, more allow closing over the phone, some require a letter, and some require an in-person appearance at a branch. Here’s how to close your Bank of America account.

As of the moment I’m writing this article, more than 55,000 Facebook users have pledged to participate, but my impression is that only a small percentage of those who replied positively to the event invitation will take these steps.

Kristen is not encouraging vocal or physical protests. This is an effort to calmly close accounts without causing a scene. For those planning to visit a bank branch in person, she has this advice:

Bank Transfer Day encourages supporters to close their accounts just as they opened them — independently, with respect and without signage. When asked why you’re closing your account, feel free to be frank. Calmly communicating your reasons for closing your account are vastly different from causing a public disturbance. While we understand that many of you feel very strongly about this, please remember that the employees at your local bank branch have no control over the structure of their company. As banks are private property, signage or a group demonstration will likely result in your being asked to leave. If you refuse, you can be arrested for trespassing. Let’s keep this peaceful & legal!

Will you join the Bank Transfer Day movement?

Updated February 14, 2012 and originally published October 19, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Krantcents

There is one other alternative to leaving the bank! You could stop using your debit card.

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avatar Mark

Small community banks are also a good option. Many offer fee-free accounts.

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

I am a marketing professional at a credit union. We are educating our members about Bank Transfer Day and highlighting our free checking accounts as part of the promotion. I’m a member of two credit unions, but I must confess that I still have a Bank of America account. Why? Because they have an ATM on what seems like every street corner and I am hesitant to give up that convenience.

However, I am NOT willing to pay them any more outrageous fees for the privilege of accessing my own money. But it’s a hassle to change your checking account. So I’m doing it incrementally, and that’s what we’re encouraging our members to do. Open the account first, then order some checks, then get a direct deposit or payroll deduction switched over, then start up the bill payment process. Doing it in bite-sized pieces is much more palatable than switching everything at once. Fortunately I have an ATM at my workplace so I can get my cash out anytime during the workweek, and we have access to a free worldwide ATM network.

People can “like” and pledge all they want on Facebook. But until you actually do something, BofA, Chase, Wells, and the like will keep laughing all the way to the…bank

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avatar Maggie@SquarePennies

Excellent advice to do the switchover incrementally. It is a pain if you try to do it all in a day or two. We already have our money in a credit union, but it will be interesting to see how many people make the change. Nothing like voting with your feet to make your voice heard.

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avatar LD

I already have. I switched over from Chase to PerkStreet a few months ago and have never been more pleased with a banking experience. I did it just as Shellye suggested – baby steps that took about a month to complete. Taking a bit of time and extra care to make sure all auto bill pays were accounted for was well worth the effort as I didn’t miss one, which means no weird fees or “oopsies!” When asked why I was leaving, I was honest but very nice to my clerk. It wasn’t her fault, after all. She apologized and gave me a very nice suggestion about also finding a brick & mortar bank or credit union in addition to PS. I may do that down the line, but right now I’m perfectly satisfied with my PS experience. I finally put my money where my mouth was and it feels great!

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avatar Scott

I’ve been with Bank of America for almost 15 years and I don’t ever remember paying banking fees. Even with all of their new rules and fees, I still don’t think I’ll be paying any fees. I’ve avoided fees by following the rules, and, luckily, there were enough people who didn’t follow the rules, so they paid for me. Are the days of free checking coming to an end? Are people finally going to become responsible and force the banks to charge fees to all responsible people? Personally, I doubt it.

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avatar Ceecee ♦796 (Dime)

I am happy with my small community bank. When they start adding new fees, I’ll switch. I applaud the idea, though.

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avatar csdx

I would’ve joined the movement, but we’ve already switched banks. And are getting a nice signup bonus from our new bank.

But I do support the idea that people should shop around banks every so often. Things that are regular like that are hard to break yourself out of, even if it doesn’t really require that much effort. We should make some time regularly to evaluate if what you’re using still is a good deal for you, similarly with other products, like insurance, or gym memberships.

Also perhaps not so coincidentally, November 5th happens to be Guy Fawkes Day:

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avatar Cejay ♦1,521 (Half-Dollar)

I all ready bank with my small credit union. They have given me superior service for three years. I recommend them to everyone that I have talked to that has complained about their large corporate bank.

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avatar lynn ♦155 (Cent)

I bank with my small community bank. They don’t sell mortgages either. I’ve never had a proble,. Knock on wood.

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avatar qixx ♦1,816 (Half-Dollar)

I am in the process of moving from Wells Fargo to ING for my checking. I moved my savings there almost 2 years ago. Got the new account setup. Using the Nov 5th date as a goal for when to close my WF account.

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avatar Evan

Chase hasn’t angered me enough to uproot my entire banking set up.

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avatar Carrie Smith

I already switched banks awhile ago, and I couldn’t be happier. For me it wasn’t necessarily because the brick and mortar banks were charging me, or were had bad customer service. I just don’t need an actual bank anymore and prefer the convenience/ease of online banking.

This is a great guide for anyone looking to find a new bank. And I’m all for local credit unions, and small businesses!

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