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On First Coast's 'Bank Transfer Day', Bankers Flock to Credit Unions

3:00 PM, Nov 5, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Some credit union parking lots were busy throughout the day as more people decided to make a financial switch.

"I just closed my account down with Wells Fargo," said Michael Ulmer.

Ulmer said he's had enough with his bank of several years, so he withdrew his money Saturday morning and drove to VyStar Credit Union to open a new account.

"I've had some bad experiences with the big banks and I feel like we've bailed them out and they want to respond with higher overdraft fees," said Ulmer.   

Today is "Bank Transfer Day," a national movement which gained strong momentum online among frustrated banking customers. 

Supporters across the country planned a mass exodus from what they call the big banks for support of smaller not-for-profit credit unions. The movement caught on on the First Coast.

"I told them when they asked me why I was closing my account that I don't do business with monopolies," said Lindsey Thompson, who also closed her bank account, citing too many fees. 

The final straw, she said, was a proposed $5 debit card fee by Bank of America.
    
"How much more profit do they need?  It's about greed...and it's become too much for me," said Thompson.

Bank of America along with other banks has since ditched plans to charge customers for debit card use.  But the backlash has already benefited credit unions over the past several weeks.
In October alone, credit unions reported an influx of 650,000 new customers.
    
"I just figured today is the day.  Everybody is doing it, so hop on the bus," said Ulmer.

VyStar representatives said they're seeing record numbers of new customers--  a number that will certainly go up after Bank Transfer Day.  Some of it's new customers say they hope the switch sends a message.

"No more big bank for me," said Ulmer.

"People are finally standing up and they say money talks," said Thompson.

First Coast News

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