Bank Transfer Day Picks Up Steam as Northwest Credit Unions See Increased Web, Lobby Traffic

A social media “uprising” suggesting bank customers close their accounts is gaining momentum on the internet. While some of the web activity appears to be promoted by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, another called “Bank Transfer Day” logged over 27,000 invitation acceptances within days of being created on Facebook. The fan page, created by a California art gallery owner, encourages consumers to transfer their big bank accounts to non-profit credit unions by Nov. 5, 2011.

Kristen Christian said in an online interview posted by the Village Voice Blog that she is not part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but that she is a consumer frustrated by bank service. While noting she has had support from Occupy Wall Street protestors, she calls her organic movement more actionable.

“You can’t just sit in a public street until you get your way,” she told the Village Voice. “This is taking direct action, saying ‘OK, we’ve had enough.’ I think that’s why we’ve garnered so much support.”

Whether it’s Bank Transfer Day, Bank of America’s decision to hike debit service fees by $60 per year or the Occupy Wall Street movement, Northwest credit unions are seeing a more-than-anecdotal increase in membership and membership inquiries.

“Our branches report they have doubled membership growth goals recently,” reported a Salem credit union representative responding to an informal survey by the Northwest Credit Union Association. A Portland credit union reported an increase of more than 100 new checking accounts in the first week of October than they saw in the same period last year. Another reported four times its normal online membership applications this month.


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Posted in Economy.