Americans urged to 'break up' with big banks Saturday

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 4, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 4 at 8:57 PM

SEATTLE -- Fueled by anti-Wall Street rallies, websites, and social media, legions of angry customers are taking part in "Bank Transfer Day" this weekend, moving all of their money out of big banks and transferring it to local banks and credit unions.

For Sarah Kirk, it's been anything but wonderful between her and Bank of America.

"I'm sick of their fees. I'm sick of not knowing where my money goes," she said. "I don't shop at big box stores I don't want to put my money in a big box bank. It doesn't make any sense."

The big banks have been beseiged by activists who blame Wall Street for the ongoing economic mess. Since August, credit unions across the country have gained 650,000 customers, 23,000 of them in Washington. BECU alone saw its number of new members jump from an average of 6,500 per month to 16,000 in October. 

About 80,000 more customers have pledged online to switch banks on Saturday. Wall Street banks are feeling the pressure, now backing off on fees, but appear otherwise unphased. Chase alone holds more than 26 million checking accounts. They appear to be banking on customers' aversion to the inconvenience of switching banks.

Community banks, like locally owned Sound Bank, say the switchover is relatively painless.

"We can walk you through every step," said Sound Bank's Pat Floyd. 

In anticipation of rallies in downtown Seattle Saturday, Sound Bank is opening all of its branches from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

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