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.
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- 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 September 24, 2015 and originally published October 19, 2011.