The revived Move Your Money movement continues to grow, leading up to Bank Transfer Day on November 5. The Facebook page for Bank Transfer Day has nearly 33,000 likes. And now one of the big progressive hitters has jumped in. MoveOn.org has rallied their millions of supporters and sought pledges from them to move their money out of Wall Street banks and into community banks and credit unions. So far they have secured over 39,000 pledges. They have 16,686, at press time, planning to move their money from Bank of America; 8,282 from JPMorgan Chase, and 2,231 from Citi. In addition, they have 12,082 pledges from supporters to move accounts at other big banks.
At their landing page, MoveOn has a variety of resources, including how to find a community bank or credit union in your area, a step-by-step guide to moving your money from The New Bottom Line, and a link to NBL’s other campaign to get community organizations and local governments to move their money out of the big banks as well.
If this sounds like the stirrings of a movement, that’s because it is. There’s the protest energy from Occupy Wall Street. There’s the more targeted direct action component from New Bottom Line, with add-ons from online organizations like MoveOn. There’s the wonkosphere foundation, to be found in essays by Nomi Prins on why you should never give Bank of America your money. There’s even a component at the political level, with Sherrod Brown and others questioning the back-door bailout of BofA.
Meanwhile, the big banks are backpedaling furiously. Two more which originally instituted monthly debit card fees are now pulling back:
SunTrust, a large regional bank based in Atlanta, announced Monday that it will no longer charge $5 a month for debit card purchases starting Wednesday. Shortly afterward, Alabama-headquartered Regions Bank said it will nix its $4 monthly fee on Tuesday.
Additionally, both banks said they will refund any customers previously charged the fee. SunTrust began charging the fees in June, Regions in October.
“We’ve listened to our clients’ feedback and will provide the convenience and security of check cards at no additional charge as part of all of our checking accounts,” said Brad Dinsmore, a consumer banking executive at SunTrust.
If SunTrust, Regions, BofA, JPM and the rest think they can stop the stampede out of their banks now and into companies that respect their customers, they are completely mistaken. In fact, we should thank them for their arrogance, which revitalized a national movement, before we ask for our money back.