Bank Transfer Day, the Facebook page that caught fire across the US the past month, finally arrived on Saturday, November 5th. While most credit unions in NC remained closed, several credit unions across the Tar Heel State opened their doors and welcomed new members. Still others took their messages to the general public, attending rallies to call attention to the grassroots movement toward community-based financial institutions.
Branch traffic was reported to be fairly light at the credit unions that opened for a few hours on Saturday. Allegacy FCU welcomed 40 new members and opened 36 new checking accounts in a few hours, while Mountain Credit Union's Asheville branch welcomed 15 new members in a four-hour stretch.
Other credit unions did not open Saturday, but chose to participate in rallies in downtown Asheville and Durham. United Services CU in Asheville spent the day at Pritchard Park, sharing information about credit unions and the CU philosophy. "About 1:45 pm, I was asked to address the crowd and I highlighted the main differences between banks and credit unions," said Marketing Director Esteve Coll-Larrosa. After speaking, Coll-Larrosa was interviewed by a local television station.
In Durham, representatives from Duke FCU, Latino Community CU and Self-Help CU also met with people downtown who were interested in making the switch to credit unions. As in Asheville, the Durham event was organized by Occupy groups as part of the Move Your Money Day.
Carolina FCU in Cherryville elected not to open Saturday, but instead held a BTD celebration on Friday. The credit union signed up new members and gave away a television set.
While most credit unions remained closed Saturday, there's no denying the impact Bank Transfer Day had on NC credit unions. Most reported significant spikes in new account openings throughout the month of October into early November. CUNA estimates that more than 26,000 new members have flocked to Tar Heel credit unions since September 29th.
Media Attention Continues
Bank Transfer Day triggered widespread media coverage in the days surrounding November 5th. Below is a sampling of the stories generated just before and in the days after Bank Transfer Day.
Credit Unions cash in on consumer frustrations over traditional banks (News 14 Carolina, November 8)
Bank Transfer Day lifts NC credit unions (Charlotte Observer, November 8)
Locals encourage people to move their money (Durham Herald-Sun, November 6)
Bank Transfer Day no land rush, but still sends message (WFMY-TV, November 5)
Bank Transfer Day encourages customers to drop big banks (Charlotte Observer, November 5)
Bank protest hits weekend traffic (Wall Street Journal, November 4)