Mass removals of cash from banks can be a very dangerous thing. It can cause what is referred to as a “bank run,” that is, it has the potential to increase a bank's chance of defaulting and force it into bankruptcy.
If this occurs at enough major banks (such as Bank of American, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.) the results could be disastrous. However, despite this historically proven fact, a Facebook group is calling for protesters to close their bank accounts en masse.
They are calling it "Bank Transfer Day" and it will happen Saturday Nov. 5 (it’s assumed the Nov. 5th is an important date to protesters given the enormous presence of those Guy Fawkes masks ["Remember, remember, the fifth of November"]).
The group was started by a Facebook user who had heard about Bank of America's $5 fee and posted an event on Facebook. So far, 75,061 Facebook users have said they will be attending, while 16,007 will "maybe" attend, reports CNN Money.
Many dissatisfied consumers have already left their banks or have pledged to do so. Many of them say that they will take their money and put it into smaller community banks or credit unions, which commonly have fewer and/or lower bank account fees.
“At least 650,000 consumers have already joined credit unions since Sept. 29, the day Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) announced plans to impose its controversial $5 debit card fee, according to a nationwide survey of credit unions by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA),” reports CNN Money.
“The new memberships in October amount to $4.5 billion in new savings accounts," CUNA said.
Despite the fact that Bank of America and other banks have backed off the debit card fee, consumers are still unhappy. More than four in every five credit unions said new customers cited days like "Bank Transfer Day" and new fees imposed by their banks as reasons for opening accounts, reports CNN.
Watch the CNN video that asks people about Bank Of America dropping the debit card fee. Apparently, the bank has “really flawed ethical, like, policies, you know?”
"We must flee all those banks now!!! They will be adding hidden fees shortly! Drop the credit cards and go to credit unions to avoid this pitfall," one CNN Money reader wrote.
The Independent Community Bankers of America said a poll of its 5,000 members conducted on Oct. 17 found that nearly 60 percent of community banks are gaining customers who are upset with bigger financial institutions. The association's community bank locator has seen more than 5,000 inquiries in the last few weeks -- an increase of nearly 500 percent, according to CNN.
It's important to note that there may elements greater than customer dissatisfaction at play. According to the same CNN report:
"Move Your Money Day" [a similar initiative] and "Bank Transfer Day" are backed by consumer groups like MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which are urging customers to switch banks by this Saturday -- and turning to social media outlets like Facebook to do their convincing [emphases added].
Reportedly, almost 52,500 have pledged to take their money out of major financial institutions as part of the earlier mentioned Move Your Money "banxodus," with just under 22,000 consumers planning to remove their money from Bank of America specifically.
An estimated 6,900 customers told the Progressive Change Campaign Committee they have already moved their money.
"They take your deposits and use them to buy politicians to de-regulate, give them immunity, interest-free loans and bailouts. Then they turn around and charge you fees to make them even richer," said one "Move Your Money" flyer posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the initiative (which has 43,679 "likes").
"Take your money to a credit union or a community bank that will use your money in your community and not to pervert the rule of law and fill their own pockets," the flyer added.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone by the social network, Occupy Wall Street has formed a similar group, called "Dump Your Bank Day," which will take place on Tuesday, November 8.
"The big banks will not be charging me a dime in additional fees. I moved my accounts to a great credit union last week," a CNNMoney reader wrote. "Next week I get to tell Wells Fargo, to put it nicely, to take a hike."