Tonight – Dan Rather Reports looks at how a handful of consumers, fed up fees and fueled by social media, have turned a small movement into an online force to be reckoned with.
Bank of America has been the central target of consumer anger after it was bailed out with $45 billion in taxpayer funds, reported a $6 billion profit in the last quarter while announcing a $5 month fee for debit card users.
Many Bank of America customers say the latest fee was the last straw. It’s no coincidence that many credit unions have seen their memberships increase dramatically since Bank of America announced new debit card fees, and since the rise of Occupy Wall Street movement.
This move towards credit unions, and against big banks began as local, grassroots campaigns but has caught fire through social media such as Facebook. Efforts like the upcoming “Bank Transfer Day” on November 5th, with over 60,000 supporters, started with one California woman and a post on her Facebook page. Or, the Bank of America petition created by one 22-year old woman, which has resulted in more 300,000 signatures (gaining over 150,000 in just one week).
Bank of America declined to comment on the anger over the new fee. Instead they pointed us to The Consumer Bankers Association, a trade group that represents the big banks. The president of the CBA, Richard Hunt said, “We are not a utility. I hate to say this, I know this may be a newsflash to some people, but we are in the business of making money.”
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