Yes, The Big Banks DO Care If We Move Our Money

650,000 customers moved $4.5 billion dollars out of the big banks and into smaller banks and credit unions in the last month.

But there is a myth making the rounds that the big banks don’t really care if we move our money. For example, one line of reasoning is that no matter how many people move their money, the Fed and Treasury will just bail out the giants again.

But many anecdotes show that the too big to fails do, in fact, care.

Initially, of course, if the big banks really didn’t care, they wouldn’t have prevented protesters from closing their accounts.

NBC notes that – in response to inquiries regarding how many people have moved their money – Bank of America refused to provide figures, and instead sent the following defensive email:

“Bank of America continues to be a great place for customers to manage their everyday finances and achieve their savings goals,” [Colleen Haggerty, a spokeswoman for Bank of America's Southern California operations] said in an email. “We offer customers more choice and convenience, including industry-leading fraud protection, access to thousands of banking centers and ATMs, and the best online and mobile banking, which allow customers to bank on their terms 24/7.”

A writer noted at Daily Kos:

At Wells Fargo, my sister walked up to the teller and politely asked to close her account. The teller said, “No problem.” She pulled up her account and saw the balance and told her that due to the amount she had to speak with the branch manager. The branch manager came out. He was probably 30 years old and was very arrogant. He asked my sister why she wanted to close her account and my sister told him she thought Wells Fargo was part of the problem with the economy. He went thru some talking points about why she shouldn’t move her money, but my sister didn’t back down. When he asked her where she was going she told him that she would be banking at the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union. She isn’t a state employee, but anyone can join if you are related to a state employee. It turns out her husband is. Anyway, the bankster told her “You’ll be back. Credit unions can’t provide the services you need.” We’ll see about that. She withdrew over $200k from Wells Fargo.

Next we went to Bank of America. I closed my last account with hardly any questions asked. Of course, I had taken most of my money out so there wasn’t much left to take. My sister on the other hand had a large balance in multiple accounts. They actually refused to cut her a check for the full amounts. They only gave her 1/3 of her money and told her she’d have to come back to withdraw the rest. They claimed they were only allowed to make checks for a certain amount, and that they had no authority to cut additional checks on the same day. Stupid BofA. She had her check in hand and politely told off the branch manager when he told her she had to come back another day or two to withdraw the rest.

At BofA, we weren’t the only ones closing accounts. There was a line of people. Most had small accounts because they weren’t even being challenged, but she actually had to wait in line to speak with a branch manager.

At SunTrust, the branch manager went off his rocker. He just kept asking her “is there anything I can do or anything I can say to change your mind?” He asked probably twenty times. He even offered to have the market executive meet with her and hear out her concerns. She told him she wasn’t interested. He really looked nervous about it.

And a writer at Daily Bail pointed out:

I went in, asked to speak with a banker and was seated in an office. When the young associate came in and asked the purpose of my visit, I handed her my ATM card and requested that she tell me the balance. When she did, I then asked for a cashiers check in that amount. That’s when things got wonky. She froze, stumbled over her words and asked why I needed that amount (It was not a small sum). This gave me an opportunity to explain that although I personally would not be affected by their new fees I know plenty of friends and family that would feel the pain. In solidarity with them, I wished to close the account and move on. She unwittingly suggested that if I just use my debit card once a month then there would be no fee. That was good for a belly laugh from me, then I again requested the balance to be issued to me in the form of a cashier’s check. She then told me that there would be a $10 fee for this service. Another laugh. I guess it didn’t sink in when I told her that I was fee adverse. There was an easy work-around anyway – I requested the cash. That finished my time with this associate banker as the amount I was requesting was “well past” her daily limit for withdrawals. I asked if there would be an issue with securing the cash and she said “I honestly don’t know if we have that here” and walked out to get the branch manager.

The manager was pleasant enough and very direct. After introducing herself she flat out asked “What can we do to change your mind?” “We don’t want to see you go” she emphasized. This opened a door for me to further explain my decision to leave the bank and why I was doing it. Amazingly, it did not fall on deaf ears. She indicated that understood where I was coming from and actually showed genuine surprise at some of the facts I provided her about the less than consumer friendly policies and machinations of her employer. She did make some feeble counter-arguments and repeatedly asked me if I would change my mind (with a hint of desperation!). I stood firm and by the end of our conversation she asked if I would be willing to put it all in writing so she could send it up the chain.

She shared that management is nervous, they are seeing money leaking out of the bank and realize that they have made mistakes…. They are also aware of the growing momentum behind the November 5th move your money movement.

***

Management is aware that people are angry (how could they not be!) and have put an ear to the ground.

Hundreds of similar stories are being told all over America.

Even though the government may keep throwing money at the dinosaurs, the Basel regulations do have some capital requirements, and so the big banks need to bring in some actual deposits to fund their casino gambling.

Moreover, if too many depositors leave, the illusion that the big banks are serving the American public will be burst, and a critical mass of consciousness will occur, so that the banks’ questioned control over the American political and financial systems will start to be questioned.

So moving our money is an effective step towards reclaiming America.

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

36 Responses to “Big Banks Plead with Customers Not to Move Their Money”

  1. mad97123 says:

    Revolutionary

  2. Dow says:

    It’s just business. :)

  3. ah

    if only there was only cash and no banks whatsoever

    nice solid gold and silver coins that you could bury

    and no computers

    anywhere

    ever

    pop

    http://thepeakoilpoet.blogspot.com/

  4. philipat says:

    I do hope that this thing gathers momentum because it could indeed become something significant.

  5. philipat says:

    Is it true that Herman Koch, woops, I meant Heman Cain has changed the name of his economic plan from “999″ to “69″? ;-)

  6. osbjmg says:

    Fantastic. I am very fee averse as well, after all I am giving you control of my money and you make money on it. There are so many options, it’s just bad business to be the guy that charges the fee. I had a similar experience with TD Ameritrade. They charged me to “organize” my account on a reverse stock split, which was not any of my doing obviously. $30 in fees and I left. Some time after I decided to transfer my funds, then the contacts started. They reimbursed the fee and asked me to stay.

    They don’t get it’s not about the money *this one time*, it’s about the mentality and principal. One dumb fee will follow another and it shows they are not working with you but just waiting for you to make a mistake or any excuse for a fee. I always close accounts when I disagree with the fee.

    On the other hand, I missed my corporate Amex payment the other day. It was my fault. I didn’t ask my company to pay it, and I didn’t complain – I know this is my problem. No foul on Amex’s fault for that, I know when it’s fair.

  7. JerseyCynic says:

    yes philipat!!! he’s changing his tune — he had better be careful of that tongue thrust issue though…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDIVfzNUP7c

    What’s so difficult with moving your $$? I just signed an authorization for the CU to do this for me. They said they would also take care of all the a/w from current bank checking acct — “sign this authorization…” Full Service — all we did was give our employers the new routing number for payroll deposits. They would have done this for us also, but I chose to do it myself.

    now I just have to decide if I want to move what’s left on the mtg. “sign here — we’ll take care of that too!!”

    since most of the small banking offices have been slowly moving out of the grocery stores these past years, the credit unions are now moving in — a win win!! … or maybe not… Lose debt, but gain weight? at least their teller is located right in front of the store and not in the far left corner!

  8. Mike in Nola says:

    Are these the same banks that Herman Cain says would help people if only they weren’t afraid of being put out of business by the regulation-mad Federal Gubmint?

    For those who can’t bear to watch these clowns, here’s the story:
    http://thehill.com/video/campaign/188413-cain-banks-want-to-help-people-they-really-do

    BTW, if the sexual harassment claims are a Dem plot, the Dems are a lot stupider than I thought. Who wouldn’t love to run against a guy who doesn’t know China has nuclear weapons?
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20128920-503544/herman-cain-incorrectly-suggests-china-doesnt-have-nuclear-capability/

  9. budhak0n says:

    That’s IT people. Kick their F’ing asses.

    Hit them where it hurts.

    Let them go on and yes they’ll still exist just not with YOU funding their operations.

  10. Sechel says:

    We’re talking about huge amounts of money the banks took for granted. They could pay out relatively low yields and leverage the returns to themselves throughout the banking organization. And then you have the debit fees, overdraft fees and a likelihood these customer would turn to you for other services such as mortgages without needing necessarily to compete on price.

  11. mathman says:

    TD is next. MFers think they’re above it all, declaring that they will begin charging all these new fees for “too many transactions” (6 in a month) etc. We’ll see about that. i already have a credit union acct. so it’s just a matter of me doing it. My next statement from them will be the decision maker.

  12. Julia Chestnut says:

    Honestly Barry, I think that they worry when you have a large account – ie, are the kind of customer that they find profitable. I think that they really don’t care about the small customers and would actually like to have a lot fewer of them. I firmly believe that their only concern with regard to the small fry is that there not appear to be a run on the bank, or the kind of movement where small fry move in unison and cause a tsunami.

    But so long as it is merely a trickle, something manageable, I genuinely think they consider it “good riddance.” I wonder if some of these anecdotes are not driven by the incentives on the retail banking side (or what remains of it) at the branch manager level. It’s possible – likely even – that branch managers have very different motivations and incentives than the beast as a whole.

  13. budhak0n says:

    Julia, you’ll come to learn that in today’s America, there are no “small” fries.

    Just as today’s banks are not representative of a grand patriarch of commerce like JP Morgan himself funding the loans that go out to the struggling mother of 3 looking to buy bread, SO their customers are absolutely not simply mindless numbers on a spreadsheet.

    We’ve seen companies before that insist they can muddle through without their customers. Sort of reminds me of things like AMC, Oldsmobile , Triumph, DeLorean.

    Like I’ve said, their shells will continue on, they simply will have no business impact moving forward because their revenue streams will evaporate. It’ll be like some moronic child hanging on to his 80′s haircut, A PE Disc with parental advisory warnings and a be like “Mike” poster 25 years after the game has moved on.

    In their quest to prove to the rest of the world that THEY are the STRONG, and that They will do what it takes to survive in a battle of the fittest, they’ve forgotten one simple lesson.

    We know how to play that game too.

    Karma is a biatch.

  14. TheInterest says:

    “the Basel regulations do have some capital requirements, and so the big banks need to bring in some actual deposits to fund their casino gambling.”

    I thought deposits counted toward reserves not capital. Banks are limited in lending more by what they have in reserves. Capital is what they need to cover bad loans not reserves. With a Fed backstop there really isn’t a reserve limit. I think what these banks are worried about is these customers not coming back to make loans or use credit cards. That’s how they make money. Not by holding your money on account.

  15. BusSchDean says:

    Consumers (and voters) have more power than up to this point they have been willing to use. Maybe that is changing…..maybe.

    What an irony, banks get bailed out by the government to avoid a banking crisis that could potentially result in a run on the banks. This then results in at least a small run on the bank as disgusted depositors move to smaller banks and credit unions. You just cannot make this stuff up.

  16. V says:

    This might be making Berkowitz nervous as well.

  17. [...] It turns out that, ye, the big banks are afraid of you moving your money.  (TBP) [...]

  18. theexpertisin says:

    In the final analysis, we’re talking peanuts here. Kinda like the numbers littering city parks in OWS.

    Now, a tax revolt…..count me in.

  19. BennyProfane says:

    Is anybody else a little, um skeptical that a lot of facts in that article are a little, um, embellished? I mean, who the hell keeps 200 grand in a personal bank account these days who isn’t an 75 year old widower or just plain stupid? Please.

  20. BennyProfane says:

    I meant widow, not widower. And, I’ll add really really rich people, too, to whom 200 grand is pocket change.

  21. Orange14 says:

    @Benny Profane – We keep $200K in an FDIC insured account at Wells Fargo just to be on the safe side. There is no guarantee that the US Govt is going to step in and insure money market funds the next time the system melts down (and it will) and I can’t figure out how to spend gold bullion even if I had a few chips off the block.

    Regarding switching, we inherited Wells Fargo following their acquisition of Wachovia (and we inherited Wachovia after about five previous mergers/acquisitions; I can’t even remember the name of the bank that I started with back in 1978 when I moved to the Wash DC area). We went in to consolidate accounts when the brand name switch took place back in mid-September and you know what? We found the most courteous helpful people that I’ve ever encountered in a bank. WF had flown in account managers from various parts of the country to help out (computer systems had been switched over and the existing Wachovia staff needed assistance with the new software). I found the whole experience glitch free and satisfying (and of course we are big depositors).

    While my sentiments are with the OWS folks (I’m an old lefty of the 1960s), I do like good service and realize that we need banks to make this damn economy run. At this point, I’m happy with WF.

    As an aside, my daughter just closed on a condo this week and her banking experience with the lender was also exemplary. It’s a sign of the times that they wanted every single loan issue documented prior to closing and insisted that she have $10K above the down payment and closing costs in her bank account prior to closing. If this is anything to go by, at least one bank is doing things right!

  22. BennyProfane says:

    Do you enjoy losing money to inflation?

  23. SWMOD52 says:

    The wife moved our money out of BOA a couple years ago. She liked to do her banking face to face and they did not. When she complained about bad service they were indifferent. Moved to Harris. Very nice folks at the local branch.

  24. Greg0658 says:

    I’ll splash some water driving by this drumcircle .. you can’t beat a lawyer, an accountant, a BoDs with the power of pinching every exchange someway somehow ie: a bankster .. and we all know what ‘sters can do when they don’t get theirs 1st .. do I smell a M&A coming around the corner .. FuMFers … in this complex interdependant world > base dependancy business* is the bomb

    can China do this to _?

    * I gotta get me 1 of them – or in the loop (if the bigtime is ever to be mine)

  25. dpharris says:

    *** Question if someone could help me out here***

    Followed the “reclaiming America” link to this post:

    REAL Capitalists Move Our Money from Big Banks to Credit Unions

    Followed this link in that because it didn’t sound right:

    “less than 10% of Bank of America’s assets come from traditional banking deposits”

    First of all, for the banks – technically – deposits are liabilities and loans are assets.

    Second, this seems to totally ignore the concept of fractional-reserve banking.

    I don’t think these figures have any bearing on the reality of how much of a bank’s earnings power is derived from their deposit base, nor do they compare how a TBTF bank would compare to a typical credit union.

    Can someone please straighten me out if I’ve got this backwards? It seems like a pretty big disconnect to me.

  26. Orange14 says:

    @Benny Profane – I’m not worried about losing money to inflation as my other investments are more than making up for it (particularly since inflation is non-existent these days). We are picking up a little pocket money on the interest in the WF account. The remainder of the investments are earning an average rate (not including capital accumulation only interest/dividends) of 4.5% at this point in time. I sleep well at night.

  27. Great Caesars Ghost says:

    I wonder what would be going through Ben Bernanke’s mind if the figure was more like $450,000,000,000. Maybe that should be the goal of OWS….

  28. streeteye says:

    Do the branches and the deposits matter when Fed Funds are free to a TBTF bank?

    In the home office, probably not at all in the short run. I would take a wild guess that they haven’t been opening too many branches lately.

    In fact they might be wondering about shutting down branches.

    So the home office is probably unaffected, but the branch manager might care a lot.

  29. streeteye says:

    Basically, banks have a toxic asset problem, lawsuit problem, leverage problem, tangible equity problem, net interest margin problem, regulatory problem, 99 problems but a funding problem ain’t one of them.

  30. Thatguy says:

    America F*ck Yeah! The people appear to be finally waking up and utilizing the power of the free market to rebel against the socialist TBTF’s. F’em!

    Orange14…. move your money. You’re helping the financial parasites to rape this country. I don’t care how much you like the “service”.

  31. bottyguy says:

    Its been 15 years since I moved my money out of Wachovia to a credit union. We are currently using North Carolina State Employees Credit Union which has been the best bank I’ve ever had. Lots of no fee for anyone ATMs (Cash Points) in NC, friendly people, a great website where you can actually find current interest rates and account fees, and the best interest rates of any bank in NC.

    I had to wait for all the checks to clear but going into Wachovia and closing the accounts was one of the best days of my life. I remember it like it was yesterday, probably better than my kids’ births (those days are kind of a blur).

  32. Greg0658 says:

    “shutting down branches” .. huh .. in this real estate market .. na that’d kill the neighborhood and tax base (well – never say never) humm (very complex adding in utilities & wage kicks & short engines)

  33. utiliguy says:

    This gives me an idea: what if a movement started (as in some kind of off-shoot from OWS, for example) for citizens around the country to petition their local governments (states, counties, cities, municipalities) to stop banking with the megabanks and start using local banks and credit unions.

    Just think of the balances kept in a municipal payroll account. Then as we move across the country multiply that by 100… or 1000… or more…

  34. [...] and into local credit unions on or by Nov. 5. According to all the reports I’ve heard so far, it was a tremendous success- I know NPR was reporting that credit unions opened more new accounts in the last month than they [...]

  35. DeDude says:

    It seems obvious that the banks are not afraid of losing the little guy; but the 50K+ costumers is a bigger issue. They don’t make much money on deposits and the little guy after the changes in fees. It makes sense that they shuffle people into a quick line for little guys closing accounts and a special treatment for those with large accounts.

    I also know someone with over 200K on his checking account and he also claims to sleep well at night. He has over 1 million in stocks so he think that is a nice balance.

  36. [...] big banks putting up a brave front, there’s a good deal of anecdotal evidence that individual managers are trying desperately to stop customers from moving their money. Whether [...]