An early Saturday, but not platelets are in the offing. Instead, I'm headed down to Camp Sayre in the beautiful Blue Hills Reservation
for a day of training new Scouters. It's another ticket item for Woodbadge, but I digress.
To turn a phrase..."What's in your wallet?" Like most folks, it's probably a Bank of America card. I suppose you can't argue with the convenience, as there are ATMs on nearly every block. But at what cost?
Long ago, when Mrs. TriSec and I were first married, we had our initial account at a bank by the name of US Trust. We went with them in those days because their primary selling point was 'free checking'...there were no unusual fees associated with the account, and they even gave us free checks. (Remember those days?)
But then a strange thing happened...a few years after we opened that account, US Trust changed their policies, and started jacking up the fees. The last weekend before the fees went into effect, we pulled our account and switched to a local bank, Watertown Savings.
Their biggest selling points are the old-school rules of free checking for direct deposit customers, and free transactions at their admittedly limited 'branded' ATM network. (of course we can still use any ATM...at $3.50 a whack.) We weren't the only ones; even years later I can still remember the crowds at both banks that day.
In any case...our friends on Wall Street are now calling for a national bank transfer day, urging folks to pull their accounts from the Wall Street conglomerates and transferring it to local banks or credit unions.
Having been there...it's painless. Sure, it's an initial hassle to close things and do the paperwork to re-open elsewhere, but at the end of the day, everything has worked out just fine. Never mind the macro-advantages that the Wall Street folks are touting...think about this. I can call Watertown and get a live person (albeit during business hours only), or I can go down the street to a branch or just 4 miles to headquarters and talk to a real account manager. For a while, the manager of the office near the elementary school had his son in my Scout pack...how's that for service? (He almost became Pack treasurer, but he spat the hook and went deep.)
In any case....it makes sense, so shouldn't you switch? I know it's been posted before, but shouldn't this be all the proof you need? (See if you can follow what happened to the bank you were with 20 or even 10 years ago.
The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting writeup
about the attempt....and it does seem to be working in some quarters.
Some of the estimated 15,000 community banks and credit unions already appear to be profiting from the upcoming International Bank Transfer Day. Organizers of the action have set the date of Nov. 5 for consumers to shift their financial assets from large corporate institutions into community banks.
As the date nears, potential beneficiaries of the global day of action are cashing in on an upswell of anti-corporate bank sentiment and are reporting a significant uptick in business. From Portland, Ore., to Rockland, Mass., smaller banks are seeing new accounts swell, compared to the same period a year ago.
“We’ve seen our new accounts go up about 30 percent in the last month,” says Jim Schlotfeldt, chief financial officer of Albina Community Bank in Portland. The bank’s five branches normally do not open on Saturday, but Mr. Schlotfeldt says his bank is planning to make an exception this Saturday in anticipation of new business.
In Massachusetts, Rockland Trust, with some 70 branches across the southeast part of the state, says new accounts have doubled since Sept. 30 from the same period last year.
“People are saying to the big banks, ‘We are not happy. You have pushed us too far,' ” says Jane Lundquist, executive vice president at Rockland Trust. She notes that the bank has free checking and one of her personal favorites, reimbursement of non-Rockland ATM fees, including overseas banks.
In fact, about 30 percent of US consumers said they’d leave their banks over fees for using their debit cards, according to a survey by the Research Intelligence Group.
Now, our PSA:Don't forget to turn your clocks back at 0200 hours Sunday.
I do expect everyone to rise in the middle of the night to accomplish this on time.