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Protestors march through downtown Los Angeles' financial district during an anti-Wall Street demonstration.
This Nov. 5, the big banks may learn the true power of social media. The day that has been pegged as "Bank Transfer Day" was inspired by a wee Facebook status update last month that simply said: "Bank of America's charging $5."
That customer was complaining about the new debit card fee – much like new fees announced by Wells Fargo and Citibank recently.
It was the last straw for Bank of America customer Kristen Christian when she read the news on her friend's page. "I was very disappointed, to say the least. At that point, I began researching. When I found credit unions, I was floored. Lower rates [and] any fees to join usually go to charity....," Christian told Marketplace last week.
Christian logged on to Facebook again and created an event called Bank Transfer Day. In a matter of days, tens of thousands RSVPed with a promise to move their money. While many of those learned about it from the Occupy movement, it turns out Christian is not tied to Occupy Wall Street and sees her message as separate and distinct.
"While I do appreciate the enthusiasm that Occupy Wall Street has put into Bank Transfer Day, I don't personally condone the means of which they approach situations. I don't believe that people should go in large groups to banks to close their accounts, bringing signage and disrespecting bank employees." Christian says she has already found a credit union and will move her money by Nov. 5.
Are you planning to switch, too? Or are you content enough to stay with your bank? Have you shopped around since the new fees were announced? Are credit unions the answer? Are the big banks too big to even feel a hit on Nov. 5?
Chris Farrell, economics editor for Marketplace Money, a weekly one-hour personal finance show syndicated nationally on public radio by American Public Media