By Will from Holland
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Care about social issues? Well, do you care this much?
27 year–old Kristen Christian was fed up with the way big banks take advantage of young people.Kristen was "motivated to do something to help educate those of her generation," she said in an interview with CUTimes Magazine.
Banks make a lot of money by charging their customers for using products or services. And in many cases charge a lot more than necessary.
Instead of banking with a traditional bank, Kristen chose credit unions as the beneficiary of her movement. Because of their "cooperative nature," when you join a credit union, you are part-owner of a cooperative, not a customer of a Wall Street-driven, for-profit business, like most banks.
Kristen threw together a Facebook page called "Bank Transfer Day" and asked people to switch their accounts from big banks to credit unions in their community. In the first week Google posted six entries on her story. Three weeks later, Google had over four hundred thousand "Bank Transfer Day" entries, and tens of thousands of blogs and national media that were covering her story.
A great success story for Kristen, right? Not Yet. She has done her part stirring the socially-conscious pot, but the question is this: will young people actually switch where they bank?
Though there is tremendous interest in "Bank Transfer Day," millions of young people are going to find that some banks try to make it really hard to switch accounts, period. "The difficulty of moving accounts is deliberate and unnecessary," said Congressman Brad Miller, in a New York Times article. For instance, if you have a lot of "automatic pays" coming out of your bank account, you're going to have to cancel and move each one of those, and the process can take time and patience.
And here's what may really burn your toast: according to the same New York Times article, banks know it will be hard for you to move your accounts and therefore are not afraid to add new bank fees (like Bank of America's fee announcement that really started the whole "Bank Transfer Day" protest movement in the first place).
So, what does all of this mean to you? If you haven't started your banking relationship, you should look closely at credit unions, rather than banks. If you're like many people, you may find that a credit union is an ethical institution, which fits your social conscience.
If you're already banking at a (big) bank rather than a credit union, and are unhappy with the way your bank treats customers like you, ask a credit union to help you move your account to that institution, including all those "automatic deductions."
Makes sense right? You'll find that credit unions are a lot cheaper for the most products and services. Your bank account should be a tool that helps you. Not a tool that is used against you, right? Don't let that happen!
Well, I hope this helps!