In all of 2010, roughly 600,000 people joined credit unions across the country. Keep that number in mind.
A month or so ago, Kristen Christian, a 27 year old art gallery owner in Los Angeles (a small business owner), set up a Facebook page urging her friends to move their money out of the big banks ON NOVEMBER 5th. Her suggestion quickly went viral and over 77,000 “friends” said that they would move their money on “Bank Transfer Day”.
Bloggers like the Huffington Post and people like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now fame and Free Speech television on Dishnet and DirectTV spoke of Bank Transfer Day (November 5th ) and people listened and read and acted. Hundreds of web bloggers, including me, blogged about November 5th. I blogged about it on WordPress and the American Chronicle and also linked it to another 8 blogsites.
The big banks did not seem concerned about the upcoming date. Saturday is not the greatest day for people to do things like that. After working all week (those who are working), people want to cut grass, shop, do odd jobs around the house, take kids to sports games and little league, so the big banks said they were not worried.
So, did you remember that number I mentioned earlier?
If not, there were 600,000 new accounts added to credit union membership in 2010.
Now for a little recent history that will make the banks rethink their lack of concern.
In the last 4 weeks, 650, 000 people joined credit unions and brought with them $4.5 billion, yes billion with a “B” to their new credit union accounts.
Let me say that again – 2010 the whole year – 600,000 people.
In the last four weeks in 2011, 650,000 people and $4.5 billion dollars.
Wake up Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan. Wake up!!!
A little over a month ago, Bank of America said it was going to implement a $5.00 monthly fee for debit card usage for their “poorer” customers. They did not say poorer, they said for those maintaining under a certain monthly balance – which means rich people don’t have to worry about the $5.00 fee.
Oh, the $5.00 fee was not intended to affect 99 percent of Americans – probably just the bottom 40 – 50 percent of American’s, the ones who could least afford the fee.
No, all of these people are not on welfare or too lazy to find a jub, probably 2/3rd’s of them are employed and just getting by like so many of us and the $5.00 fee would simply be another nail in the coffin so to speak. So, what – some of you might say.
Well, guess what? When Bank of America and the other 3 big banking corporations started to hear that big SUCKING sound of billions leaving their institutions over the past month, Bank of America revisited their decision to charge a $5 monthly debit card fee and backed down.
The other 3 also decided against implementing a similar fee structure. They were waiting in the wings and if it worked for B of A, then they would have jumped in with their fee as well. OOPS!
Hooray for average Americans. Again, Hooray!
Again, it is not the 77,000 people or the $4.5 billion dollars – all that happened before yesterday.
Saturday’s statistics on customer cancellation counts and dollars withdrawn are not available yet and even those counts and dollars are not the issue.
The issue is that average Americans are sick and tired of what banks, retailers, sports teams, car manufacturers, health care companies, drug companies, energy companies, colleges, and others are doing to Americans.
These organizations sometimes raise prices and fees just for the hell of it.
Sure, costs of goods do go up for these retailers and other corporations, but many of these corporations pass the entire cost on to their customers – they do not absorb their fair share, they find a way to pass it ALL on. But I am sure some of you will say that is fair and just the American way. To that I say phooey…
Trickle down economics does not work for salaries then why should it apply to expenses?
Restaurants are NOT doing the same – they are running specials, reducing prices, and changing menus to get back their customer base. They get it – their business has dropped and they are doing what is necessary to get their customers back.
On a personal note, to prove my point, last night I ordered a Pizza Hut large 3 topping hand tossed pizza and got it for $9.99, roughly the same price I paid for one about 5 years ago. Pizza Hut gets it – they would rather sell $10.00 pizzas on special than close their restaurants because few, if any, customers want $15.00 – $20.00 pizzas.
Banks don’t get it – especially the behemoths – but they will – yes they will – and soon.
Banks are still charging 20 – 30 percent and more for credit card rates even though banks are using money on a daily basis for rates that are close to 0 percent.
Publicly traded companies (those who issue stocks on the various stock markets) exist for their shareholders – and that relationship is hurting their customers and customers are fighting back. Public companies think they can put their shareholders first and their customers last – but that too will pass. These big corporations will witness the time of the disappearing “under loved” customers.
Sit back everyone – the show is just starting. The little people are realizing the synergy and the collective power they have. No, they do not want to kill capitalism because that is the best game in town – they just want to tweak the big players to tell them that average Americans are the ones who buy their products and if customers are not being appreciated and RESPECTED, they will cut up their credit cards, keep whatever money they have in their wallets and in their new CREDIT UNION accounts and not cater to big business.
Small business will be next to act up. This “little” art dealer moved her money; next, tons of small business will tell these four banks to go to hell and they will take their business to state banks and other financial institutions that will loan them money to either start up or expand.
After all, there is still such a thing as the American Dream – but big banking behemoths do not want to help small businesses aspire to that “dream” by granting them loans.
Again, the show has just begun. Pop your popcorn, grab a Coke or Pepsi, and enjoy the show.
Oh, Coke and Pepsi, don’t get complacent – you are probably next!
This is Capitalism at work – finally!