Finally, we’ve got some cold, hard stats on how badly banks are hurting from November’s Bank Transfer Day movement.
A new report by Javelin Strategy & Research estimates a staggering 5.6 million big bank customers have switched banks in the last 90 days.
Of those, the research firm says a cool 610,000 cited Bank Transfer Day as their reason.
It seems we’ve come full circle.
If you remember, there was a lot of hoopla surrounding early figures released by the Credit Union National Association just after BTD, which inititially reported more than 650,000 customers made the switch to credit unions.
A month later they backpedaled, putting the figure at a little more than 214,000.
It was a bit of a setback for CUNA, especially at a time when credit unions were being heralded as the white knights of consumer banking.
Javelin’s study will give them a bit more clout and at the very least shows that the growing chasm between consumers and financial institutions is nothing for big banks to sniff at.
“With a Google search of “bank transfer day” returning fully 22,000,000 responses we’re not surprised that these angry bank-switchers represent nearly a three-time increase over the amount of people who took their funds out of large banks for highly-similar reasons during the previous 90-day period in 2011,” Javelin says.
While Bank Transfer Day was the catalyst for 11% of customer defections, more than a quarter of consumers cited bank fees as their reason for leaving.
No surprise there, especially as banks plummeted in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index report. People have been grumbling about big bank practices ever since Bank of America and Chase tried to slap customers with a $5 debit card fee back in the fall.
Overall, banks’ satisfaction rates dropped 1.3 per cent to 75 in areas of checking, savings, and personal loans.
At the time, ACSI founder Claes Fornell cited Bank Transfer Day as a contributing factor:
“Banks are facing difficult times on multiple fronts: Profits are being squeezed, regulators are more demanding, foreclosures remain problematic, and consumers are fighting back on fees. On top of all this, many banks are losing customers, including defections prompted by grassroots efforts like the recent Bank Transfer Day,” he said.
If you’re thinking about switching your bank, here are a few tips to get you started.
Make a list, check it twice. Don’t get too excited once you’ve found a new bank and start throwing all your eggs in its basket. Make a list of all the bills and utilities that you have linked to your current account. Then be sure to leave enough in the old account to meet those needs.
Move your money. Transferring cash can be simple if your new bank offers the service online. You can also ask if they have a “Switch kit” — a tool that helps new customers transfer cash from other accounts—and start moving funds over that way.