November 9, 2011
Yes, The Big Banks DO Care If We Move Our Money
650,000 customers moved $4.5 billion dollars out of the big banks and into smaller banks and credit unions in the last month.
But there is a myth making the rounds that the big banks don’t really care if we move our money. For example, one line of reasoning is that no matter how many people move their money, the Fed and Treasury will just bail out the giants again.
But many anecdotes show that the too big to fails do, in fact, care.
Initially, of course, if the big banks really didn’t care, they wouldn’t have prevented protesters from closing their accounts.
NBC notes that – in response to inquiries regarding how many people have moved their money – Bank of America refused to provide figures, and instead sent the following defensive email:
“Bank of America continues to be a great place for customers to manage their everyday finances and achieve their savings goals,” [Colleen Haggerty, a spokeswoman for Bank of America's Southern California operations] said in an email. “We offer customers more choice and convenience, including industry-leading fraud protection, access to thousands of banking centers and ATMs, and the best online and mobile banking, which allow customers to bank on their terms 24/7.”
A writer noted at Daily Kos:
At Wells Fargo, my sister walked up to the teller and politely asked to close her account. The teller said, “No problem.” She pulled up her account and saw the balance and told her that due to the amount she had to speak with the branch manager. The branch manager came out. He was probably 30 years old and was very arrogant. He asked my sister why she wanted to close her account and my sister told him she thought Wells Fargo was part of the problem with the economy. He went thru some talking points about why she shouldn’t move her money, but my sister didn’t back down. When he asked her where she was going she told him that she would be banking at the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union. She isn’t a state employee, but anyone can join if you are related to a state employee. It turns out her husband is. Anyway, the bankster told her “You’ll be back. Credit unions can’t provide the services you need.” We’ll see about that. She withdrew over $200k from Wells Fargo.
Next we went to Bank of America. I closed my last account with hardly any questions asked. Of course, I had taken most of my money out so there wasn’t much left to take. My sister on the other hand had a large balance in multiple accounts. They actually refused to cut her a check for the full amounts. They only gave her 1/3 of her money and told her she’d have to come back to withdraw the rest. They claimed they were only allowed to make checks for a certain amount, and that they had no authority to cut additional checks on the same day. Stupid BofA. She had her check in hand and politely told off the branch manager when he told her she had to come back another day or two to withdraw the rest.
At BofA, we weren’t the only ones closing accounts. There was a line of people. Most had small accounts because they weren’t even being challenged, but she actually had to wait in line to speak with a branch manager.
At SunTrust, the branch manager went off his rocker. He just kept asking her “is there anything I can do or anything I can say to change your mind?” He asked probably twenty times. He even offered to have the market executive meet with her and hear out her concerns. She told him she wasn’t interested. He really looked nervous about it.
And a writer at Daily Bail pointed out:
I went in, asked to speak with a banker and was seated in an office. When the young associate came in and asked the purpose of my visit, I handed her my ATM card and requested that she tell me the balance. When she did, I then asked for a cashiers check in that amount. That’s when things got wonky. She froze, stumbled over her words and asked why I needed that amount (It was not a small sum). This gave me an opportunity to explain that although I personally would not be affected by their new fees I know plenty of friends and family that would feel the pain. In solidarity with them, I wished to close the account and move on. She unwittingly suggested that if I just use my debit card once a month then there would be no fee. That was good for a belly laugh from me, then I again requested the balance to be issued to me in the form of a cashier’s check. She then told me that there would be a $10 fee for this service. Another laugh. I guess it didn’t sink in when I told her that I was fee adverse. There was an easy work-around anyway – I requested the cash. That finished my time with this associate banker as the amount I was requesting was “well past” her daily limit for withdrawals. I asked if there would be an issue with securing the cash and she said “I honestly don’t know if we have that here” and walked out to get the branch manager.
The manager was pleasant enough and very direct. After introducing herself she flat out asked “What can we do to change your mind?” “We don’t want to see you go” she emphasized. This opened a door for me to further explain my decision to leave the bank and why I was doing it. Amazingly, it did not fall on deaf ears. She indicated that understood where I was coming from and actually showed genuine surprise at some of the facts I provided her about the less than consumer friendly policies and machinations of her employer. She did make some feeble counter-arguments and repeatedly asked me if I would change my mind (with a hint of desperation!). I stood firm and by the end of our conversation she asked if I would be willing to put it all in writing so she could send it up the chain.
She shared that management is nervous, they are seeing money leaking out of the bank and realize that they have made mistakes…. They are also aware of the growing momentum behind the November 5th move your money movement.
Management is aware that people are angry (how could they not be!) and have put an ear to the ground.
Hundreds of similar stories are being told all over America.
Even though the government may keep throwing money at the dinosaurs, the Basel regulations do have some capital requirements, and so the big banks need to bring in some actual deposits to fund their casino gambling.
Moreover, if too many depositors leave, the illusion that the big banks are serving the American public will be burst, and a critical mass of consciousness will occur, so that the banks’ questioned control over the American political and financial systems will start to be questioned.
So moving our money is an effective step towards reclaiming America.