The Big Story Blog

3 things to know about bank fees and blame

Posted at 4:54 PM on November 4, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Banking

The financial world isn't likely to change dramatically after Bank Transfer Day tomorrow. But it might change a little bit.

The citizen movement, fueled through social media, to get people to pull their business from big banks as a protest of fees and other hassles has caught some fire the past few weeks. Polls show there's enough anger out there to make some kind of change.

We spent the day looking for news and insight into the push back against big banks. Here are a few things we learned.

1.) Banks will still dominate. Even after Saturday, the biggest banks will still hold the majority of deposits in the country and Minnesota. Here, banks hold about 90 percent of state deposits and credit unions hold about 10 percent. Among the banks, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank hold more than half the deposits. That hasn't changed the past few years.

While data show between Sept. 29 and Nov. 2, roughly 10,200 new members joined Minnesota credit unions and deposited approximately $71 million, it won't change the basic ratios.

2.) Many Minnesotans are tired of the bigs. Just because legions of people won't pull their money from big banks doesn't mean customers are happy. More than 100 Minnesotans in MPR News' Public Insight Network shared stories of unhappiness with the state's biggest banks. Many of those said they were shifting or planning to shift funds to community banks or credit unions.

It wasn't a scientific survey but the unhappiness over fees and the general quality of service seemed consistent with scientific national polling.

3.) It won't end Saturday. It's been an interesting today to watch the #banktransferday feed on Twitter. It's a different vibe than other recent protest movements, like Occupy Wall Street.

People aren't calling for the government to do something or demanding more regulations. They're simply urging consumers to vote with their money and people are offering practical ways to do that.

If you're a banking executive conditioned to having your lobbyists go to Washington to defeat an onerous regulation or to get rules changed in favor of your business, it might be worth worrying about a movement that isn't asking for any government help.

Learn anything today about banks, credit unions, fee or consumer movements that we didn't talk about? Post them below.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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