Friday, October 21, 2011
Keene Bank of America protest yields immediate results
While about seven demonstrators stood in front of the bank singing, passing out flyers, catching much of visual attention of passers-by (and, one case, sporting a Guy Fawkes mask), two others (including your blogger) went around the back of the bank to catch drivers as they exited the drive-through. In all, over 250 flyers were given out to bank customers, each of whom was engaged in direct conversation about the “Move Your Money” movement. One side of our flyer chronicled the fraud, fees, foreclosures, and outrageous actions of the Bank of America since 2007; the other side explained the advantages of using local credit unions, with step-by-step recommendations as to how best to smoothly transfer banking operations from one institution to another.
One customer, a young man who appeared to be in his late twenties, excitedly responded to us, “I just did it! I just opened up an account at the credit union, and I closed my Bank of America account!”
Indeed, he wasn’t alone: a phone interview with the Cheshire County Federal Credit Union by your blogger confirmed that several people came in today to open new accounts, and self-identified as those leaving the Bank of America.
For others, it was just the encouragement they needed. “You know, I’m gonna do this! They just charged me seven bucks just to cash a check!” said one very upset man to me as he exited the Bank of America. In fact, the response overall was overwhelmingly positive and supportive, with most customers smiling, offering ‘thumbs up,’ or expressing outright solidarity. Some bemoaned the fact that BoA owned their mortgage, and they felt they couldn’t ‘escape.’ Others noted, with regret, that their children attended colleges where the BoA has a contractual monopoly on-campus.
Cheshire TV covered much of the event, and interviewed both customers and demonstrators. Overall, the effect of this effort came not from our numbers or loudness, but from our one-on-one conversations with a very specific target population that is already fed up.