Would you like to stick it to big banks? Well, you’re not alone. Apparently, that sentiment has been growing over the last few months as behemoth banks that were bailed out turn around and raise interest rates and cling to loans. In return, consumers are sticking it to “the man,” moving their accounts to community banks and credit unions. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that banks will feel the pinch.
The Move Your Money campaign, developed in part and championed by blogger and political commentator Arianna Huffington of The HuffingtonPost, has been picking up steam with 27,990 becoming fans on the campaign’s Facebook fan page.
But a friend and I had a Twitter conversation about why we cannot support the movement, even though we’d like to. As others chimed in on our public conversation, our quandary was shared. The reality is, the U.S. is a nation of transient people, especially when it comes to Generation X and Y, who are just as likely to move across the country as they are to move across town. My friend and I are both transplants to New York City . Fortunately for us, the seeming ubiquity of a Bank of America or Wells Fargo–here as well as in our home states (him Maryland, me Connecticut)–is just too much to go without.
Don’t get me wrong—there are numerous advantages to taking your business to community banks, as we pointed out in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine. Since most community banks avoided the crazy subprime loans their mega-sized brethren were making, many of them are still making loans. A good number of community banks are also offering higher yields and lower fees than their larger competitors, in order to attract deposits.
The Move Your Money Website offers a bank and credit union locator which only requires you to enter a zip code to find the closest financial institution. The closest bank I could find was about a mile away, compared to the three short blocks I travel to my current institution.
The campaign itself, however, is picking up traction. The Huffington Post says that more than 340,000 searches were performed to find community banks in 16,631 zip codes.
While it is unlikely that the campaign will be a slam dunk in altering banking reform, it may be a boon for community banks that are now receiving widespread attention from consumers disgruntled with their lack of appreciation from the big four. But in a society where the majority of us are “on the go,” this “movement” is just too inconvenient.
What about you? Have you moved your money from a large financial institution to a community bank? If not, what’s stopping you? Do you think the Move Your Money campaign is futile? Respond below and let me know what you think.
Renita Burns is a staff writer at BlackEnterprise.com