Joining our wallets together

Remember when Bank of America announced their new $5 debit card fee, and then laid off about 30,000 workers? After doing all of that, Bank of America announced that they would see a profit totaling $6.2 billion in the third quarter. Whoa!

Other banks at the time were either testing the idea or were already charging their customers just to use their cards. At the time of Bank of America’s announcement, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo all posted profits of $3.8 billion, $4.3 billion, and $4.1 billion respectively.

This event was symbolic of the unethical practices that the banks use to gain profit. After all, they are for-profit business corporations, funded for by private investors and shareholders. Their goal is to post profits, and this means that they will use any way imaginable to make a buck off of its customers. To any person, that doesn’t know anything about banks or has a naïve outlook on life, this is a paradox. There are people out there that are making a buck off of storing your money and facilitating transactions. If you deposit your money in their hands, don’t expect all of it back.

Of course, Bank of America’s tomfoolery caused a national outrage across America. The national fervor caused by the Occupy movement may have been a catalyst in this phenomenon. Pretty soon, the idea of a “Bank Transfer Day” was being set up across social media channels. November 5th was the date, and taking all of your money out of these private investors’ hands was the game.

But that wasn’t all. Of course, how do we replace the big banks? Where do we store our money now? Look no further than credit unions! They are non-profit financial cooperatives owned by their members, and are governed by a board of directors who are also elected by these very members.

Usually, a credit union is either owned by local residents, or a group of people that share a bond, such as the U. S. Military, or high school teachers. The importance here is that joining a credit union is essentially joining a tight-knit community that will never seek to make a profit on your bucks. All of their profits are either being re-invested back into the credit union, incentives voted on by its members, or straight back to the members. Yes, that’s right. You could get free cash just for being in a credit union.

Well, how do you switch from a bank to a credit union? Firstly, make sure your debt(s) at the bank are completely gone. Don’t owe the big bad wolf one cent at all.

Next, go to www.nerdwallet.com/credit-union/. Enter your preferences, and the website will automatically find credit unions near you and then rank them based on their branch network, ATM network, late fees, APR hikes, foreign fees, and cash advances.

Once you’ve decided on a credit union, go to that location and ask for a “switch kit”. This is basically a package of all of the required information for you to transfer from that big bad wolf to the piggy bank. When you’ve done that, don’t forget to give your new account information to your employer(s), SSI, and et cetera.

Oh, and if you think that this only matters because you’ve got to save some bucks, you’re wrong. If you do this: not only are you helping yourself, but you are also making a statement to the banks. Now, this statement may not seem big, but it builds up to a national level.

Right before November 5th, Bank of America announced the cancellation of their $5 debit card fee. They backed down because the People let them know what’s up. Other banks has followed suit, and you know what that meant to them: a loss in profits. And my friend, that’s powerful.

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