UPDATE: A huge march just started in NYC. Our reporter is on the Scene.
Move Your Money Day is Here! Bank Transfer Day. We had an Arab Spring, a European Summer, and it's time for an American Autumn.
As Occupy movements spread around the nation and around the globe, the time to do something about the banks has arrived.
We'll be following the events all day. If the 70,000 people who've pledged to move their money follow through, it could be a devastating day for the big bankers.
We're getting some unconfirmed reports that some of the big banks are going to require managerial approval for any large withdrawls, so we're following that. We've got someone in the field who's going to be visiting several banks today and following the action here in New York City, and I'm following several information streams and will bring you the facts on the ground. And maybe some colorful commentary.
It is my sincere hope that bank transfer day will be so successful that it one day becomes a scene from a movie (hurrah for the monetization of sincere efforts to end the monetization of everything). A montage. Set to Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King. (For those of you who haven't had your morning coffee yet, yes, this is snark.)
Actually it's my sincere hope that the big banks never recover from bank transfer day. It's my hope that never again will they play roulette with our retirement funds and our future. It's my hope that their stock graphs look like this on Monday:
And while this isn't the occupy movement, there's a group of people who would certainly be willing to help. Here's OccupySF outside of Bank Of America's headquarters there, courtesy of the Daily Bail:
Wisconsin credit unions are already reporting over 14,000 new members.
There's a great article over at the Daily Bail about one person's decision to move their money.
I visited a branch to make a business deposit and when I arrived, there were signs on the ATMs indicating that the system was down and that customers should come into the branch. Before I got to the business customers' line, I was stopped by a banking associate and asked the purpose of my visit. I told him I was there to make a deposit and he waved me to a desk. When I sat down the banker first asked for my account number. I don't know it, so I handed him my ATM card. That's when he explained that all of their computers were down, and although they would accept the deposit, without the account number they would have to give me a generic receipt. Say what huh? When I told him that my newly opened accounts at a local (small, community) credit union would like the deposit he insisted that their computers were down too. Fifteen minutes after leaving BoA I found that to not be true and the money was happily deposited into a new account at the CU without issue.
Riiight, our computers are down! I wonder how many branches will pull this trick or one like it today. You can read the rest of that story here.
We're about to find out. Stay with us.
6:56 AM PT: For those of you who haven't heard (It's been all over DailyKos) Credit Unions registered 650,000 new members in the past month. That's more than they registered last year, and it happened in one month. If all of those people move their money today, it would be massive.
And remember, FDIC ensures that all fortunes up to 250,000 are safe. (So my $7.28 would be just fine even if it were in a big bank.)
On another note, Jesse LaGreca (Ministry of Truth) will be down at Zuccotti park today, speaking with Rosie O'Donnell. He has a diary scheduled to go up soon, and he asked me to monitor the comments and answer questions. I'll link to it when it's up.
7:06 AM PT: A Chase bank manager has decided that today, November 5th, will be "Chase Pride Day."
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 7:44 PM
Subject: Saturday Nov 5th – Chase Apparel and Pride Day in response to “Bank Transfer Day”
There is growing event named “Bank Transfer Day” scheduled for Saturday November 5th. In essence, this movement calls for customers to close their accounts and move to a credit union to send a “message” to the large banks.
Although it is not associated with Occupy Wall Street, OWS does support it.
· Saturday branches (Gateway, Wall & Williams, Tribeca, & Barclay) are participating in CHASE PRIDE DAY
· Chase Apparel as always & Excellent Customer Experience for any clients who come to close their accounts. (see Dress Code Guidelines)
· Global Security and Investigations (GSI) is monitoring tightly and will ensure we have appropriate preparedness and security on site.
Our branch partners need our awareness & support – let’s help make sure Bank Transfer Day becomes Chase Pride Day!
Happy Chase Pride Day!
So there's that.
7:08 AM PT: And as of six minutes ago, banks in the Central Time Zone are opening!
7:16 AM PT: What's corporate media to do when bad news for corporations means lower stock prices? Spin it like a top.
Apparently it's a good thing that everyone's moving their money.
And the big banks don’t particularly want all those retail-deposit funds — they’re getting precious little interest on them, and they come with all manner of expensive obligations to mail out statements and provide smiling service at teller windows and generally do the whole customer-service thing, which as we all know big banks are very bad at. Historically, they’ve done what they have to do on that front because they’ve been able to extract all manner of overdraft fees and interchange fees and the like, but that fee income is shrinking now, thanks to Dodd-Frank, and the fact is that millions of small bank accounts are actually unprofitable now for the big banks, and those banks won’t shed many tears if those customers go off to a credit union instead.
"No no no, the fact that our customers are so angry that there's a run on our bank is a GOOD thing."
Or, to quote the person who sent me this article, "Felix Salmon is an idiot."
If you want more useless and senseless spin, you can find the rag that published this nonsense here.
Just kidding, Reuters is usually great, but they need to find some better columnists. Hey Reuters, remember how I was talking about the 7 bucks in my bank account? I can swing four paragraphs a week. Especially if Felix Salmon's drivel meets the level of quality you expect from your columnists.
7:21 AM PT: For those of you in New York City's lower east side, the Lower East Side Credit union will be open till four today.
For those of you participating, here's a great article with some advice on closing your account.
7:27 AM PT: There's another great personal account of Bank Transfer Day already up by Josh Harkinson over at Mother Jones. He asks for one good reason, just one, why he shouldn't transfer his money to a credit union.
The banker couldn't give him one.
The next morning I stop by my neighborhood Wells Fargo branch to ask why I shouldn't move the rest of my money to the credit union. A stone-faced teller directs me to a Personal Banker who is sitting at his desk, sipping a Starbucks Grande. I'll call him Andy because I don't want to get him fired. He scans my debit card and tells me that I'm lucky to have an account originally opened in Texas with no minimum balance requirement. California Wells Fargo accounts don't offer that. "You're actually in good shape here."
When I challenge a Wells Fargo banker to give me one good reason not to move my money over to a credit union, he really can't.
I mention my recent trip to New York, where each time I withdrew cash, I was not only charged by the machine, but hit with a $5 fee from Wells Fargo, which doesn't have any ATMs there. "The credit union will refund me all fees for that," I tell him.
"Even the ones that the other bank charges you?" Andy asks.
"Unfortunately that's something we can't really compete—we don't have an account that offers that," he says apologetically. "If you are finding yourself in that situation a lot, I can see how that would be better for you."
I tell him about other Wells Fargo fees—international transaction charges, fees for linking my checking and savings accounts—and then ask him why I should stay.
"To me, the advantage is we have not just more ATMs, but more locations," he says. "But yeah, I can see the appeal of the credit union too, because they are not-for-profit, so, you know"—he laughs—"they're able to do things like reimburse those fees, because they are not trying to make a profit off of each transaction. You know what I mean?"
And that's the problem. The big banks now want to charge you for the privilege of needing to use money.
8:13 AM PT:
CAPITOLA — Steven Henderson, 45, an airline pilot who lives in Capitola, is tired of Wall Street-owned banks.
“We've been ripped off, and we're still being ripped off,” he said. “It's not just a particular demographic. It's everybody.”
That's why he came out Friday for the “Tour de Bankruptcy” protest in front of four big banks with branches on 41st Avenue.
He joined a handful of protesters outside Wells Fargo. The group stopped at Citibank, Bank of America, and Chase and plans to be at Chase on Ocean Street this morning to promote Bank Transfer Day, a grassroots effort started on Facebook, garnering 44,000 “likes” in two weeks.
Across the country people are getting the word out.
The banks who destroyed our economy and our savings are going to be hearing from their customers soon. To quote JimStaro below, these banks aren't too big to fail, they're too fat to survive. See the graph he posted from BoldProgressives.
8:13 AM PT: Sorry, link to that last article: http://www.csmonitor.com/...
8:16 AM PT: And Tim, who you may have seen on our Ustream, just finished closing his account with Wells Fargo.
9:28 AM PT: Occupy movements across the country are marching on banks as we speak. We can confirm: Baltimore, Tulsa, Seattle, St Louis, Raleigh, and San Diego.
Tim just got back from Wells Fargo.
"We can't transfer your money." They told him.
"Fine. I'll take cash."
This might be a standard problem. There are reports on twitter that banks are refusing to transfer funds. They're charging people 10 bucks for cashier's checks.
You're leaving us, so just to say we love you and care about you, we're charging you one last fee. Remember, fees are how banks say "I Love You."
9:34 AM PT: A big thank you to all of the Kossacks moving their money today. It's a big step, and it will make a huge difference.
9:43 AM PT: Some of the one percenters are closing their accounts too, including at least one silicon valley billionaire.
9:49 AM PT: So, Tim had an interesting experience closing his account.
He walked in, telling them that he'd like to wire transfer money. They told him to sit down. Things weren't busy and he waited for half an hour. Finally, he went back to the teller.
"Give me my money."
"A-all of it?"
"All of it."
"All of your money?"
"That will make your balance zero."
"Are you trying to close your account?"
"Just give me my money."
"If you want to close your account, you can sit-"
"I've already been sitting for half an hour. Give me my money."
"If you want to close your-"
"Give me my money, I'll close my account over the phone."
They're really making this as frustrating as possible, hoping that their customers will just give up and leave their money in the bank.
9:52 AM PT: h/t to gooderservice, who did me the good service of posting an entry from the Gothamist blog:
In addition to being Guy Fawkes Day on Knifecrime Island, today has been dubbed Bank Transfer Day for Americans who are fed up with storing their money in financial institutions that took their bailout money but won't loan it back, forced people from their homes after exploiting them with predatory loans, and tack on fees despite overall poor customer service. Representatives from New York City's four major credit unions will be at the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park until 6 p.m. tonight to help ease customers through the transition.
9:59 AM PT: To see a larger version of the too fat to survive map posted by jimstaro click on the thumbnail:
Uploaded with ImageShack.us
10:27 AM PT: There are now 81,900 RSVPs on facebook for bank transfer day.
10:35 AM PT: According to the Wisconsin Bankers Association at Wisbank.com, nonprofit automatically means "taxpayer subsidized."
They're essentially saying that if you use a credit union, you're a communist. Expect that line from Fox et al soon.
10:39 AM PT: Let me remind everyone you still have to CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT with a bank to avoid incurring fees!
Knowing these folks, they'll fine you, report your checking account as in default, or institute your overdraft protection, and then if you don't give them MORE money, they'll report you to the credit Bureaus.
10:42 AM PT: We can confirm that Bank of America is charging people 10 dollars to close their account if they want a transfer or a cashier's check.
10:44 AM PT: Wells Fargo isn't being as problematic. A number of people are reporting that they've been able to close their accounts, no questions asked.
11:19 AM PT: One of my friends just closed his account at Bank of America.
"Was it the five dollar fee?"
"No, it was the 700 billion dollar bail out."
11:22 AM PT: Tim is being told that he cannot close his account at Wells Fargo. It's a "computer" problem.
"Sneaky Bastards" he says. "How can I have a "pending transaction" of "I just withdrew all of my money.""
11:24 AM PT: Sure enough on his online account, there's a "pending" transaction. It's "pending" even though he left the bank with all of his money in cash.
11:31 AM PT: They ran his cash withdrawal as a transfer. I quote him once again: "sneaky bastards."
11:53 AM PT: Lot's of people are reporting that their bank branches are closed today, and that they'll return on Monday.
12:14 PM PT: We're estimating that in the last month, 4.5 BILLION was moved into credit unions.
There will be people who act next week, and there are already people talking about moving their money on 5 December.
12:44 PM PT: Jesse LaGreca estimates 6+ arrests at Foley Square at a march that protests the federal government's foreclosure settlement for being too bank friendly. Our reporter is en route.
1:12 PM PT: In August, Bank of America refused to let a group of customers into a branch to close their accounts.
I don't have any reports of this happening today. We'll make sure that the word gets out if they try this again:
2:01 PM PT: We can confirm two things about Bank of America:
1. They ARE charging everyone $10 to close their account. Or they're supposed to. Some bankers may be waiving the fee.
2. They WILL NOT let you do a complete withdrawal in one day if you have an account over a certain size.
2:02 PM PT: 19 arrests reported today across the country. Guess the banks don't want any more bad press.
4:29 PM PT: Media is starting to roll in now.
Dallas Arrest Video:
4:30 PM PT:
5:21 PM PT: A spontaneous march just began. The protesters are upset about needless arrests today in a move your money march.
5:41 PM PT: The March on One Police Plaza was a diversion. The Protesters are cooperating with the police. They're forming rows so that they're not blocking streets.
6:09 PM PT: The march has ended.
Lot of information I'm digging through.
7:08 PM PT: I'm shutting this blog down for the night. I've been at it for about 12 hours.
Thanks to everyone who checked in with us. Follow us on twitter @theother99 for timely updates. We'll be back with more coverage soon.