November 05, 2011

Today is Bank Transfer Day. While the event has been much hyped, with a Facebook page dedicated to it garnering more than 50,000 friends and it's very own Wikipedia page, it's hard to predict how successful it will end up being.

Though it shares similar values, Bank Transfer Day is not orchestrated by the Occupy Wall Street crowd, but started as a social media campaign by a California woman urging consumers to take their money out of big banks and put it into credit unions by Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day.

The movement gained steam when several big banks announced they would institute fees for using debit cards as a way to make up for lost revenue due to the Durbin Amendment capping interchange fees. Bank of America's infamous $5 debit fee, which they've since scrapped, was the target of much of the consumer backlash. But other banks, including Chase and Wells Fargo, also announced plans for debit fees, which have since been scrapped as well.

It remains to be seen how successful the Bank Transfer Day movement, given that big banks have decided not to go forward with these fees. Maybe disaffected BofA customers who were doing research on credit unions in their area will now just decide to stick with the bank out of convenience. Either way, credit unions definitely gained at least some customers they wouldn't have had before due to this initiative.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...