For credit unions across the country, Bank of America's decision to impose a $5-per-month fee on debit-card users has been the gift that keeps on giving.
And even though the mega bank finally caved to nationwide outrage yesterday and announced it would scrap the fee program, it may be too late to stem the bleeding.Here in the Seattle area, local credit union BECU says that during the month of October it added some 16,000 new members--a 200 percent increase in new membership compared with what the credit union usually records.
Furthermore, even yesterday after BofA announced to would get rid of the fee, BECU spokesman Todd Pietzsch tells Seattle Weekly that the credit union still kept its steady rate of 600 new members per day.
"I think a lot people have lost trust," Pietzsch says. "Trust is hard to get and very easy to damage. So [Bank of America] is saying now 'we're not going to do it,' but how can you trust they wont do something else?"
Adding to the bad news for BofA, this Saturday is being billed as "Bank Transfer Day" and thanks to a massive online networking push with ties to the Occupy movement, thousands more big bank customers are getting ready to move their accounts.