Occupy Wall Street Leads to a Planned Bank Boycott
In the wake of Bank of America's announcement that they'll be charging customers $5 a month to use their debit cards starting next year -- and in the continuing efforts of Occupy Wall Street, now in its 21st day --
protesters who say they are associated with the movement are organizing there's an event encouraging people to take their money out of major banks and put it in credit unions instead, to send those big banks a message. Kristen Christian created the event's Facebook page, calling it "Bank Transfer Day," also known as Saturday, November 5. (Their logo, by Eddie Colla, is a Guy Fawkes mask, because "Guy Fawkes had the courage to take on a towering giant -- just as we are," she writes.) Update: Christian clarifies that this event was created by her alone, not by Occupy Wall Street, though she's been in touch with many Occupy Wall Street protesters who support the cause, as she supports theirs.
In terms of instructions for the day, she writes:
• Open an account with a Credit Union • Transfer your funds to the new account (online or in person) by 11/05 • Follow your bank's procedures to close your account
To find a credit union near you: http://www.findacreditunion.com/
Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will ALWAYS remember the 5th of November!! If the 99% removes our funds from the major banking institutions on or by this date, we will send a clear message and give the 1% a taste of the fear that we experience every day when we aren't able to pay for our rent, food, medication, utilities, student loans, etc.
As for the reason for the boycott, Christian cites the Durbin Amendement:
WHY ARE WE BOYCOTTING? The Durbin Amendment is an add-on to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law No. 111-203), signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. The Act allows the Federal Reserve to regulate debit card interchange fees of banks with over $10 billion in assets. Over the summer, the Fed released the final rule on the matter by limiting debit card interchange fees to a maximum of 21¢ per transaction. In response, these "major banks" have decided that beginning early 2012 any consumer with less than $20,000 in combined accounts will be charged a monthly $3-5 fee if they use their debit card at any point during the month. This is a blatant attack on the 99% that cannot & will not be tolerated. In a stand of solidarity, on November 5th we will transfer our money & close our accounts with these major banking institutions to take our business to credit unions (or local banks if a credit union isn't available). Since #OccupyWallStreet began, these banks are donating our money (and money they've made with our money) to law enforcement agencies to heap abuse on our brothers & sisters. NO LONGER.
FACTS/FIGURES: • With the Durbin Amendment in affect, banks will still make 19¢ profit per processed transaction [*1] • The average consumer uses his/her debit card 24 times per month [*2] • Without the additional fee, Bank of America stands to turn a $3,228,480,000 annual profit from its 59 million customers' debit card transactions [*3] • Without the additional fee, Wells Fargo stands to turn a $2,626,560,000 annual profit from its 48 million customers' debit card transactions [*4] • Without the additional fee, JP Morgan (Chase) stands to turn a $4,924,800,000 annual profit from its 90 million customers' debit card transactions [*5]
60,000 people have been invited, and nearly 8,000 are marked as attending on Facebook. Will they actually go to the trouble of dealing with those annoying corporate banks and their "procedures" enough to transfer their money for the cause? We will find out.
We've gotten in touch with Occupy Wall Street to find out what the official word from the movement is on this new movement. Recently a user submitted this idea on their site:
Everyone who has a BofA account should pull it out this week and open in a different bank. That's a simple way to to boycott and will make an incredible impact on wall street in just a matter of days.
Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.