Remember, remember the 5th of November
On November 5 of this year, a movement created by folks echoing Occupy Wall Street called for the end of banking as many of us know it.
But not really. As most people know by this point, major banks such as Bank of America, Well's Fargo, and Chase benefited from the "bail out" plan our government put into action back in 2009. Since then the CEO's and shareholders of these banks have experience phenomenal profits, to such an extent that the CEO's even received massive bonuses. Certainly not something you'd expect from a bank that needed to be "bailed out" but none the less what happened.
This October, Bank of America announced to its shareholders that it would be instituting a new monthly charge on debit card holders who had less $20,000 in their accounts. This new fee targeted an already financially desperate group, who necessarily use their debit cards for many purchases online, as well as in places that do not accept checks. While banks institute new fees all the time on their customers, usually they have the sense to tell those customers first, but not this time. Rather than do that, they gloated over the new fee to shareholders as an attempt to show the bank would become even more profitable in the near future.
Upon hearing of the new fee, people organized a movement on Facebook called Bank Transfer Day. It had become common policy for people joining the #OWS movement to change from the largely corrupt major banks to smaller local banks and credit unions, and with this new fee and commiserate outrage, convincing others wasn't that hard.
"How do I feel about it? I love it!" said SCC student Steve Kesting. "Americans have taken a ton of crap from big banks... in the past few decades." When asked about whether he was going to take part in the event Kesting said, "My plan is to cancel my US Bank account by the end of the year, due to my current business."
Many others echo Kesting's enthusiasm, but with a similar need for more time to disentangle from the banks. Regardless of this, leading up to November 5, $4.5 billion dollars were taken out of big banks, and as of then over 650,000 new credit union accounts had been opened across the country.
"The part that really drives me nuts is the fact that the big banks are holding onto their money. In the meantime they gouge the American people with high interest rates on credit cards and other unnecessary fees. It's our money, let us use it appropriately." Kesting said, and with students like him, it doesn't look like Bank Transfer Day will be ending anytime soon.
Casey Lein, Copy Editor