Home > Personal Finance > Three Bank Protests, Three Very Different Responses

Comments 2 Comments

Three banks, three very different responses to anti-bank protests. As protesters associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement gathered at branches of the nation’s largest banks over the weekend, some of them intent on closing their accounts, banks and their employees reacted in very different ways, indicating some confusion by banks about how best to respond.

Some protests grew testy. But the one witnessed by Credit.com involved a far more peaceful scene: The quiet closing of bank accounts and the orderly movement of capital from one institution to another.

About 300 people left Zuccotti Park and marched boisterously through lower Manhattan Saturday morning. At the front of the march were about a dozen Chase bank customers who planned to close their accounts. Many of them criticized Jamie Dimon, Chase’s CEO, who has taken a prominent role in lobbying against renewed regulation of the financial industry.

[Tool: Quickly assess your risk of identity theft for free]

“I’m going to remove my money because Jamie Dimon is getting million-dollar bonuses even as the financial instruments that he helped create are forcing people out of their homes and bankrupting municipalities,” said Alex Klader, 25.

Once the protest arrived at the Chase branch at 155 Water St., there were too many people present to squeeze onto the narrow sidewalk out front. So the protesters formed a circle around the block.

As the marchers walked, many of them holding up signs and some beating on drums, the Chase customers smiled at the two New York police officers standing by the door and entered the branch. They sat in cubicles and filled out forms. About five minutes later they exited with checks tucked into their wallets and purses.

“They were nice,” said Biola Jeje, 20, a student at Brooklyn College. “We said we wanted to close out accounts, and we just did it. It was very quick and smooth.”

The now-former Chase customers said they planned to deposit their savings in smaller banks and credit unions with lower fees.

“I make $9 an hour at a coffee shop, so I can’t afford to be paying Chase $12 a month in fees,” Jeje said.

[Featured Product: Looking for credit cards for fair credit?]

Elsewhere the process was not so easy. About two dozen protesters, at least some of whom came to close their accounts, were locked inside a Citibank branch in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. In a video from that protest, a plainclothes police officer grabbed a woman who was standing outside the bank, picked her off the ground, shoved her into the bank and locked her inside. The protesters were arrested for trespassing.

In a statement, Citibank said that the decision to detain the protesters was made by the police after protesters were asked to leave and refused.

They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911,” Citi said in a press release. “Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.”

In Santa Cruz, CA, two women walked into a Bank of America branch to close their accounts. One was holding a protest sign. A bank employee walked over to them and told them to leave, according to a video from the scene. The women said they were customers of the bank.

“You cannot be a protester and a customer at the same time,” the bank employee said.

The women left, and later joked with police officers who arrived on the scene.

[Related Article: Everybody’s Fighting Over Bank Fees]

Image: Michael Daddino, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Beauty08

    I’ve already opened my account with my local credit union and will promptly be closing my B of A account ASAP.

  • Heather

    Lord Acton , ” The issue which has swept down through the centuries, and which will be
    fought sooner or later, is the People versus the banks.”

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team