Why is Leaving a Big Bank so Difficult?

By: Roger A Lee

Recently, there has been a large revolt against financial institutions, namely the big banks. Occupy Wall Street has been spreading and continues to demonstrate against the unruly practices of our banks.

Many average Americans have become fed up with the fees that continue to appear on the bank statements and credit card bills. Many without approval, many without explanation and many that were specifically exempt when they opened their accounts.

All of us remember these small printed sheets we received in the mail covered with small text to tiny for most people to read, too complex to understand and nothing said anything in plain English. Well somewhere buried in these papers were notifications of new fees.

Most of us got pissed off when we saw them on our statements, but just like the banks figured, sooner or later, we would just get used to them and accept them, because the banks are just too big to fight with and it is just too much work and effort to change to another bank, who would do the same thing eventually. We gave up and rolled over.

A few months ago, when Bank of America announced its new debit card fee, followed by a lot of the other major banks, a lot of us decided we had enough.

To begin with we were boiling mad, because just a short time ago the banks were begging for our help and promising anything. The minute they were bailed out by the tax payers, they paid back these loans as fast as they could, much faster than anyone expected. It turns out only because they wanted to free to beat up their depositors and account holders for more profit.

Finally, after the debit card fee announcement, many Americans stood up and shouted" I am mad as hell and won't take it anymore"

Instead of going to competitors banks, many of us sought out credit unions and community banks. One credit union in California opened more new accounts in one day then they usually open all month. Another broke all records opening 600 accounts in one week more then they usually do in a year.

Even though the major banks won't admit this is the reason, all have put plans for the debit card fee on the back burners, announcing to all customers that they will not be instituting these fees, but it may be a little too late.

Unfortunately, not as many people move out of their big banks, fearing that smaller community banks or credit unions would not offer all the services they needed. Almost all credit unions and community banks offer the same services, especially those basic services like online banks, ATM, and online bill payment. You also do not have to move all of your accounts, just move your active checking account the one that you have the debit card associated with. Move the other accounts over time. There are very few customers and for sure not individual customers who really need a brick and mortar branch close by that is just an excuse. Business accounts are something different, but I am sure you can find a multi branch credit union or community bank locally that can serve all of your needs. This doesn't mean you have to cut up your credit cards or move your mortgage. Take baby steps. Make your voice heard.

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Barry Norman is a contributor to and blogger at firstcredit.net. For over ten years FirstCredit.net has provided consumers free information helping them make sense of credit cards and the financial industry. Whether you are a longtime cardholder or looking for your first credit card, FirstCredit.net can help you make informed decisions.

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