Anger Over Bank Fees Pushes Tulsans To Credit Unions

Monday, November 7th 2011, 7:04 pm

By: Craig Day

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Anger with large national mega banks is leading to a boost in business for some locally-owned banks and credit unions.

Full of disgust for Wall Street and disdain over proposals to charge monthly fees for debit card use, the "occupy" crowd encouraged fed up customers nationwide to switch their accounts from big banks to smaller, locally owned financial institutions.

"We are definitely seeing that move from the mega bank, the Bank of America, the Chase bank, to somebody that is more local," said Kristi Brooks.

Kristi Brooks with TTCU, the credit union, says the move to smaller institutions started September 29th with Bank of America's announcement that it would start charging monthly fees for debit card users.

It has since changed its mind, but the damage has been done.

"People don't like to be 'fee-ed' to death," Brooks said.

It's meant a dramatic increase in the number of people switching their accounts to places like TTCU.

"We've actually started tracking that the last few days and about 32 percent of the new accounts that we've opened in the last four days are unhappy with their existing financial institution," Brooks said.

While the long term nationwide impact of Bank Transfer Day isn't known yet, one thing is certain:  many people are unhappy and are willing to change banks.

Brooks doesn't anticipate the trend from letting up soon.

"I think that people really are fed up with the mega national banks and are looking for somebody closer to home," she said.

If you're planning to switch banks, here are some tips:

Experts say, don't close your main account until your new one is up and running, and make sure all outstanding checks have cleared.

Also, leave enough money in your old account for a little while to cover automatic payments just in case the changeover takes more than one billing cycle.


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