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CU offers “How-To-Change Banks” video

Monday, October 31, 2011 

Bank Transfer Day Set for November 5 as Activists Encourage
Consumers to Switch to Credit Unions and Smaller Banks

 Consumers Union’s “How-To-Change Banks” Video
& Handy Tips Available at www.DefendYourDollars.org

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Saturday, November 5 has been dubbed Bank Transfer Day by grassroots activists upset with rising bank fees, including the new $5 debit card fee that Bank of America will start charging its customers in 2012.  Consumers are being encouraged by Bank Transfer Day organizers to switch their accounts to credit unions or community banks on that day. 

Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has developed a set of tips to help guide consumers interested in switching their accounts to a new financial institution.  The tips along with a “How-To Change Banks” video is available at www.DefendYourDollars.org

‘Bank of America’s new debit card fee was the last straw for many consumers who are tired of banks that got bailed out that are now turning around and hiking fees,” said Norma Garcia, director of Consumers Union’s financial service program.  “If you’re upset over how your bank is treating you, then it might be time to move your money to another financial institution that can offer you a better deal.”

For consumers interested in switching their accounts, Consumers Union offers the following tips: 

  • Open your new bank account with a small deposit – leaving the bulk of your funds with your old bank.  Deposit just enough to avoid any fees you may be charged for maintaining a low balance.  

  • Next make a list of all the automatic payments and deposits scheduled to go in and out of your old account each month.  If you have direct deposit, ask your employer to reroute your paychecks to your new account.  Find out what date the first deposit will occur.  Once you know the date, reschedule each automatic payment or debit to come out of your new account and make sure to ask the company what date the change will apply.  

  • Leave some cash in your old account for at least one month.  

  • Once you are sure that all automatic payments and all direct deposits are coming and going from your new account, electronically transfer the final funds from your old account.   

  • Once the transfer clears, follow the procedure laid out by your old bank to close your account.  If you don’t close it, you might get hit with a monthly account maintenance fee even after you stop using it.  And be sure to get written confirmation that the account is closed.   

For more detailed information, see Consumers Union’s Move Your Money checklist of steps to take to ensure that all of your bills are paid on time and you avoid being charged overdraft fees.   

“Bank of America should listen to its customers and drop this unfair debit card fee,” said Garcia.  “Consumers who are unhappy with new bank fees can vote with their feet and take their money elsewhere.  There are many banks and credit unions that are eager to serve consumers fed up with rising fees.”



Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-902-9537 (cell) of 415-431-6747, ext 126 (office)