Occupy Philly Protester Encourages ‘November 5th: Bank Transfer Day’

christianChristian strolls through Dilworth Plaza’s Occupy Philly mashup sporting an ungroomed beard, shaggy hair and a small sign reading, ‘November 5th: Bank Transfer Day.’ He’s by himself, but come the aforementioned date, Christian, who did not provide a last name, plans to be one of thousands.

“I’ve been encouraging people to go to local credit unions,” he says. “They’re more invested in the local community, but it’s also a message. If on the fifth, millions of dollars are leaving banks in a single day, that’s something those people will understand [he points to the Market Street Wells Fargo bank behind his head]. They don’t understand messages. They understand numbers.”

Christian, at Occupy Philly from Somers Point, New Jersey, says he supports local credit unions because they “only give out loans that are going to succeed whereas the larger banks, they don’t care if you succeed.” Christian says he didn’t come up with the idea. It’s been up online almost a month, and he believes November fifth, a Saturday this year, will be a date we all come to remember.

The movement was begun by Kristen Christian, a Los Angeles resident who described herself as “literally a private citizen who had enough,” to the Village Voice. She says the movement is not affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, though she has spoken to Occupy leaders in Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco.

K. Christian put up a Facebook page on October 4 for the “event.” As of this afternoon, 63,377 Facebook users were “attending” and over 13,000 others were “maybe attending.”

Some have warned of problems if credit unions receive a huge influx of small balance accounts in one day. Though Credit Union National Association vice president of communications Mark Wolff told the Credit Union Times he welcomes the idea, saying it shows “just how angry consumers are becoming with their treatment by big banks.”

Whether or not the tactic works is yet to be seen, but K. Christian, who plans to pull her funds on the 4th, told the Voice she understands why this particular idea has garnered so much support, perhaps backhandedly telling the Occupy Movement to get up, stand up.

“In terms of what you are going to accomplish with a sign, standing on the sidewalk — you can’t just sit in a public street until you get your way,” she told the Voice. “This is taking direct action, saying OK, we’ve had enough.”

Occupy Philly’s Christian agrees. “We’ll see what the numbers are like but I definitely think it’s a beautiful idea… [big bank executives], they understand numbers. So they need to see something done.”

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