Rather an interesting creation, Bank Transfer Day, this past November 5th. Started by the frustration with her big bank, the owner of a small art gallery in SoCal went viral on her FaceBook and blog, and created a national protest that told people to leave their big banks and go local. Hundreds of thousands moved nationally in October alone. Credit unions were a major beneficiary. We had been seeing stronger checking growth this year but in October it really shifted gears and on protest day Great Basin opened 24 new accounts when normally we would see 5-6 on a Saturday. Taken by itself, not a huge thing but it tells me Northern Nevada is in on the revolt.
Allow me to pause for a second here to give accolades to the world’s greatest staff. We didn’t know what to expect for a Saturday, but we had extra volunteers from all over the credit union step up to ensure we were ready and we even stayed open until 3:00 in the afternoon instead of closing normally at noon. Yeah, that happens a lot at banks too…NOT.
Of course, I’m writing this to the choir. I’m guessing most of you have already made the choice, and it is rewarding to see the media look to credit unions as part of the solution. It is an interesting phenomena, credit unions, not for profit financial cooperatives; really a gift from “The Great Generation” who endured the Great Depression. So it’s kind of exciting to see a new revolt from the people, looking again to belong to a real community financial institution that exists to share local deposits to neighbors who need loans and not to maximize how much they can take from people for the sake of profit to some shareholders. So to the members of the Great Basin choir, whether soprano, alto, tenor or base…pass the word and keep the revolt going. Kinda sounds like the 60’s, brings tears to my eyes.