The Big Story Blog

Banks pushing customers too far?

Posted at 6:20 AM on November 4, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Banking, Economy

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Banks still dominate the financial landscape in Minnesota and across the country. Ninety percent of total deposits in Minnesota sit in banks, while about 10 percent sit in credit unions.

But there's a pushback underway. Bank of America retreated from its plan to charge debit card holders a $5 monthly fee after consumer anger rose.

On Thursday, the national credit union association estimated some 650,000 consumers nationwide moved to credit unions since Sept. 29, the day BofA announced the debit card fee. The group figured that more than 80 percent of the nation's credit unions had seen growth since then, adding $4.5 billion in new savings accounts, "likely from the new members and existing members shifting their funds."

On top of that, there's a grass-roots effort to get citizens to move money out of their banks all at once on Saturday.

We'll spend today looking at the sometimes shaky relationship between consumers and the banking industry. We'll do some reporting and get some insight from Minnesotans on banking and the efforts by credit unions to get customers to "defect."

New consumer surveys show banks may have reason to worry. The Harris Poll finds:

Big Banks may be vulnerable to losing customers to credit unions on November 5th, Bank Transfer Day, where according to social media, tens of thousands have signed up to drop Big Banks in favor of joining a credit union.

While credit unions enjoy best in class customer retention rates (87% Extremely/Very Likely to Continue), the nation's largest banks fail to engender the same degrees of loyalty from their customers. For example, only two in five of Bank of America's customers are extremely or very likely to continue (40%), as are less than half of JP Morgan Chase's customers (46%) and just over half of Wells Fargo/Wachovia's customers (54%).


Harris also noted the power of social media in the "leave banks" movement.

Post something below on your experiences -- good and bad -- with banks and credit unions. We'l talk about it today, add some reporting and make us all smarter on the subject.

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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