The ATM revolt
In September of 2011, Bank of America announced it would start charging customers $5 per month to shop with their debit cards. In early October a 27-year-old gallery owner in Los Angeles named Kristen Christian set up a Facebook event page, inviting 500 of her Facebook friends to move their accounts to local credit unions by November 5, which she called “Bank Transfer Day.”
“Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will always remember the 5th of November,” she wrote. “If we shift our funds from the for-profit banking institutions in favor of not-for-profit credit unions before this date, we will send a clear message that conscious consumers won’t support companies with unethical business practices.”
Christian’s groundswell movement quickly snowballed. Within three days 8,000 people had signed up to attend the event.
“I was tired” said Christian in another post. “Tired of the fee increases, tired of not being able to access my money when I need to, tired of them using what little money I have to oppress my brothers & sisters. So I stood up. I've been shocked at how many people have stood up alongside me. With each person who RSVPs to this event, my heart swells. Me closing my account all on my lonesome wouldn't have made a difference to these fat cats. But each of YOU standing up with me... they can't drown out the noise we'll make.”
By November 4, the day before Bank transfer Day, at least 650,000 people had added $4.5 billion to credit union savings accounts. That same week, Bank of America dropped its plan to charge additional fees.