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Who Is Ditching The Big Banks?

Here are profiles of three people who left their banks leading up to Bank Transfer Day.They did it. And so can you.

Switching banks might seem like a pain, but it’s not the worst thing you’ll go through. Plus, you’ll save yourself money and send a message to big banks at the same time.

As Bank Transfer Day nears, here are three examples of people who made the switch:

Who: David Becker, 48, San Francisco, president of PhillippeBecker, a branding, packaging and design agency

Old: Bank of America

New: San Francisco Fire Credit Union

Why he switched: Becker had been a Bank of America customer since he was a kid. Even though he keeps his business accounts with a local bank, he liked the convenience that a national bank offered, like access to ATMs all over the country.

But the Bank of America fees started to add up: checking account fees, stop payment fees, $50 for a new box of checks. The $5 per month debit card fee was the final straw.

The switch: “Shockingly painless,” he says. He set up everything online or by phone — yes talking to a real human being without being charged for it.

No more checking fees, and SFFCU will reimburse him for using other banks’ ATMs.

Oh, and the credit union gave him checks for free.

“I’m a small business owner, and am not anti-business in the least. But I am fed up with businesses that clearly put clients last.”

******

Who: Annie Heckenberger, 37, Philadelphia, advertising executive vice president of PR & Social Media at ad agency Red Tettemer + Partners

Old: HSBC

New: Philadelphia Federal Credit Union

Why she switched: Heckenberger moved her checking and savings account out of HSBC because she was “tired of giving my money to big banks that are getting richer off my money and not passing any benefit to me,” she said. “I’m disgusted that U.S. banks took a bail out and then paid themselves out with end-of-year bonuses. I’m appalled that Bank of America just paid out $11 million to two executives because things didn’t work out.

The switch: Easy. Heckenberger originally opened her HSBC account by going to the bank, but she says she did everything for PFCU online. “So much more convenient,” she says.

Heckenberger still has a 401(k), IRA and stocks, so she’ll never be entirely out of the big banking system. “But at least I can make a symbolic show of my dismay at the industry by pulling my checking and savings,” she says.

******

Who: Marc Kruskol, 54, Palmdale, Calif., owner of MJK Public Relations

Old: Chase

New: First Entertainment Credit Union

Why he switched: Kruskol opened a checking and savings account, plus an IRA, with First Entertainment when he was working for Sony Pictures. But he also opened an account with a brick and mortar bank.

“I was always told that it was a good idea to have an account at a traditional bank and establish a relationship for needs down the road” for things like loans, he said.

When he moved, he didn’t close the FECU accounts but transferred the bulk of his checking and savings money in what, through mergers and buyouts, eventually became Chase.

“Then the fees came in,” he said. He didn’t want to pay them. “I did not want to take the chance of not having sufficient balances to waive the fees just so they could hold my money.”

The switch: Painless. FECU gave him new, free checks, he can make deposits in ATMs and there’s a full service center near his home.

“It also showed that having a history and a relationship with Chase — and its predecessors — meant nothing.”

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  1. Mike Cetera said:
    on November 1st at 11:01 am

    Reuters is reporting that Bank of America has dropped its debit card fee plan. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-bank-of-america-drops-5-debit-card-fee-plan-20111101,0,7112968.story

    Savers have won this battle, but will this keep you from fleeing big banks?

  2. A.Bundy said:
    on November 9th at 09:30 pm

    I dropped them like a dead fish in a toilet. CitiCr@p even hit me with a monthly fee after i emptied my account which they nicely funded with their low cost $100 overdraft charge. they locked down the account now so nothing can go in or out, but i could care less since i am not losing a penny nor a nights rest over it. at the end of the day, its my money, and i do what i want where i want with it.