Since Bank of America announced its now-abandoned plan to charge debit-card users a $5-per-month fee, consumers have been fleeing from large money-center banks to small community banks and credit unions.
And many of them have decided to dump their big banks Saturday as part of the Bank Transfer Day movement.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), credit unions have witnessed a sudden increase in membership: About 650,000 consumers across the nation have moved to credit unions since Sept. 29.
The CUNA estimated consumer outrage over the proposal to hike debit-card charges led to $4.5 billion in savings accounts being added at credit unions. "The results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions where, on average, they will save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, lower rates on loans, and higher return on savings," said CUNA CEO and President Bill Cheney.
Along the same line as the Bank Transfer Day effort, the Move Your Money project is also making its presence known on Saturday.
The Move Your Money project is a campaign that aims at empowering individuals and institutions to divest from the nation's largest Wall Street banks and to move to local financial institutions.
The campaign's Web site has links helping consumers find local banks and credit unions in their areas via ZIP codes.
It also shows a tool developed by an independent bank-ratings firm, Institutional Risk Analytics. The IRA tool steers consumers to the soundest community banks in their areas.
The IRA list in each area features only institutions graded "B" or above, according to its rating system based on government data.