Bank Transfer Day: Philly to Raise Awareness Nov. 1
As we reported earlier this week, November 5th is Bank Transfer Day. Thousands of people from all over the country have vowed to opt out of the major commercial bank in which they currently store their cash, and move their money into an account with a local credit union as a message to the big banks.
As Occupy Philly protester Christian told us on Wednesday of the movement, “[Bankers] don’t understand messages. They understand numbers.”
Bank Transfer Day has gained even more steam since then (the Facebook “event” invite now has 65,584 attendees) and has prompted several posts on Occupy Philly’s Facebook page and other online pages of Occupy movements all over the country. Now, some at Occupy Philly are attempting to move the date up.
Occupy Philly protester Michael Reilly says he’s beginning an awareness campaign on Tuesday, Nov. 1, in preparation for Bank Transfer Day. After meeting Bank Transfer advocate Christian, Reilly is prepared to close his bank account and hopes to bring as many Occupiers and others with him as he can.
“I’m going to have people out there Tuesday to provide information and resources to raise awareness for Saturday,” he says.
But this isn’t just a show of solidarity. It’s personal.
According to an op/ed he submitted to the Occupy Philly newsletter and viewed by PW, Reilly claims he got “stiffed by a short-term employer” on October 22. Then stiffed by a couple banks.
“I took my employer’s $250 Wells Fargo check to a Wells Fargo Bank branch at Broad and Wolf Streets in South Philadelphia to cash it,” he writes. “Wells Fargo would not cash the check without charging a $7.50 fee unless I were to open an account. I discovered that there is no account available with Wells Fargo that does not involve fees, minimum monthly balances, or check card obligations.”
Reilly then went to his own bank, Sovereign. And they told him as of July 1, they’re charging a $5 fee for non-Sovereign customers to cash a check issued by Sovereign. And if the check you cash bounces, they charge you $15. “My employer ripped me off,” he writes. “His bank won’t cash my check without taking a cut.”
According to this article at Money and Business, Sovereign also charges $15 to certify a check. Small fees, but, as the argument goes, they add up.
“We don’t have to patronize big banks that add fee after fee while setting aside billions for year-end bonuses,” he writes. “Take your money to a local bank or credit union, and tell them why you are angry with your bank, and why you are moving it NOW.”
The Bank Transfer Day Movement was begun by Los Angeles resident and “private citizen who had enough,” Kristen Christian. It is officially unaffiliated with the Occupy Wall Street Movement.