The people who brought you the financial crisis of 2008 (and subsequent Republican Depression) have never had it better. Their profits are massive, and their bonus pool, kindly provided by US taxpayers, has been especially generous for the very people involved in setting up the derivatives that tanked the system. At the same time, more Americans than ever have been driven out of their homes by foreclosure, and their jobs by the economic collapse. For them, the only “bonus” consists of having a dry place to sleep at night.
Bank Transfer Day was a way for Americans to properly thank the people who have done so much to destroy us. On that day, millions of us took our money out of the thieving, scheming institutions, and put it in credit unions. We, in the end, are obligated to punish the greedmeisters, since our Government not only refuses to correct the “too big to fail” status of these banks, but has actually allowed the situation to get WORSE when a lot of these larger banks ate struggling institutions.
It’s good to read stories like this one from all over the country. Hopefully, the amount of money taken away from these greedy criminals is enough to put a dent in that bonus pool this year.
Five weeks after Bank of America announced a $5 monthly fee for debit-card use and blamed it on new financial rules, and four days after Bank of America did an about-face after other large banks dropped similar plans, John Gorham and Julie Glover made their own change in direction.
The Mount Airy couple joined a nationwide campaign touted on Facebook as “Bank Transfer Day” and promoted by some of the same protesters camped out near Wall Street, by Philadelphia’s City Hall, and around the country. Gorham and Glover opened a checking account Saturday at Valley Green Bank, a small Northwest Philadelphia bank, and plan to close their account at Bank of America.
“We’re happy to be a part in a small way of what’s going on,” said Gorham, 38, a manager at an insurance company. “We’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Like a lot of people in our generation, we feel a frustration about the lack of a level playing field.”
Until banks report their fourth-quarter results early next year, it will be tough to say whether Bank Transfer Day or a similar campaign dubbed “Move Your Money Day” has had a noticeable effect on a U.S. banking industry dominated by a handful of multibillion-dollar banks.
But after Bank of America Corp. announced its plan to collect $60 a year from each of its millions of debit-card users, to compensate for caps on transaction fees imposed by last year’s Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, it quickly became clear that the bank had ignited a firestorm – not just over bank fees, but over continuing anger at major financial institutions for their role in the housing bubble, the 2008 financial crisis, and the ongoing economic slump.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D., Ill.), whose amendment required the Federal Reserve to cap the fees at an amount “reasonable and proportional” to banks’ costs, added fuel in a speech defending the caps, which are expected to cost large banks $6 billion to $8 billion a year and which he said would “reduce costs to retailers and consumers across America.” He told bank customers:
“Vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank and find yourself a bank or a credit union that won’t gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day.”
Kristen Christian, the California small-business owner who started Facebook’s Bank Transfer Day campaign, says she has no connection to Occupy Wall Street. But the event’s Facebook page says Christian “believes we can pull ourselves out of this economic mess the big banks caused by investing in local not-for-profit credit unions.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, one of several groups promoting Saturday as Move Your Money Day, did not hesitate to draw such a link.
“The reason why it’s caught fire across the country is because of the change in conversation that Occupy Wall Street has inspired,” said spokesman Neil Sroka. “We’re actually talking about things like income inequality. . ., and the degree that big banks have control.”
Credit unions appear to be benefiting. The Credit Union National Association said Thursday that since Bank of America’s debit fee was announced, credit unions had added 650,000 members – vs. 80,000 in an ordinary month – and $4.5 billion in deposits.
In the Philadelphia region, Bank Transfer Day was also promoted by smaller banks, such as Valley Green, which has two branches, and Univest, a midsize regional bank with 32 Montgomery and Bucks branches.
Leon Moyer, Univest’s chief executive officer, said the bank saw the grassroots campaign as a chance to build on what it has been doing successfully since the financial crisis: Promote local banking.
“We just feel like community banks are painted with that same broad brush as Wall Street,” Moyer said Saturday. “We’re here on Main Street, taking care of the needs of our customers – consumers and small-business owners.”
Main Street is a far-away land of riff-raff to the greedmeisters of Wall Street. They have sucked dry the very lifeblood of countless communities across America, and they have no intention of changing the way they do things. Those of us who are still able to, must stop transacting with these criminals.
And for BooFooA customers, the need is especially urgent. BooFooA is going to fail, and the failure will be massive. And even though the Federal Government has left taxpayers on the hook for BooFooA’s failures, I don’t think that there will be any stomach for helping these greedmeisters again. The one issue that Occupy Wall Street and the Koch-funded Klanbaggers of the so-called “tea party” have common ground is the greed of the big banks, meaning that a huge segment of the population will never again accept bailing them out. That means that the BooFooA depositor risks losing everything he or she has, soon.
Those who got out don’t have that as a worry, at least.