Home > Personal Finance > Measuring the Impact of Bank Transfer Day

Comments 0 Comments

Saturday November 5th was Bank Transfer Day, the day on which Americans were urged to switch their accounts from the big banks to credit unions. For a grassroots movement started by art gallery owner Kristen Christian on Facebook, it garnered a lot of media attention. Just as one example, on Friday evening November 4th, I spent an hour as a guest on KGO Radio in San Francisco as host Gil Gross took calls from listeners, many of whom reported they had already moved to a credit union or planned to do so.

Was Bank Transfer Day a Success?

Last week the Credit Union National Association released figures that an estimated 650,000 people had joined credit unions since Sept. 29 (the day Bank of America unveiled its now-rescinded $5 monthly debit card fee) and had added an estimated $4.5 billion to new savings accounts at credit unions, both from new and existing members.

[Related Article: Want to Switch Banks? Here’s How to Do It.]

On Tuesday, the association said that more than 40,000 people joined credit unions on Bank Transfer Day itself, bringing with them $80 million in assets. One credit union in Georgia reported a 60-percent jump in new accounts on Nov. 5.

However, Javelin Strategy & Research senior analyst Mark Schwanhausser notes that generally the numbers of consumers switching primary financial institutions has been declining. In the March 2009 survey, which reported data from the previous twelve months, 11% of consumers had made a switch. In the 2010 survey, that figure was 12% and in the 2011 survey, it dropped to 7%. Perhaps this recent movement will reverse the trend.

InstitutionalRiskAnalytics.com offers a free tool that allows consumers to locate banks (including smaller community and regional banks) in their area, along with information about safety and soundness of those financial institutions. It received what he describes as “massive traffic” in early 2010 when the free tool was featured in the Move Your Money effort. Move Your Money was spearheaded by a video created by filmmaker Eugene Jarecki and publicized by Arianna Huffington, among others. But Institutional Risks Analytics CEO Dennis Santiago says he didn’t see the kind of traffic he expected this past weekend.

[Resource: Not sure where your credit stands? Get your Free Credit Report Card to find out.]

Describing traffic to his site between Thursday through Sunday, Santiago says, “Total event count-wise, it peaked at about 10,000 querying the system (which was) nowhere near the size of the numbers when Move Your Money was taking place in 2010.” By contrast, the Huffington Post reported that in the first seven days of the Move Your Money campaign in January 2010, there were 340,000 searches for community banks.

Santiago also notes that in recent searches, visitors were by and large looking up banks, rather than credit unions, at a ratio of 5 to 1. “Interestingly enough, the fewer cases where there were people looking at the credit unions there was a higher incidence of people looking at the second page with a full list of branches,” he says, and speculates that “the people who took the time to look at the credit unions we’re pretty serious about it.”

What likely happened is that those web surfers were heading over to the credit union locator website, ASmarterChoice.org. Mark Wolff, Senior Vice President-Communications for the Credit Union National Association reports that site “recorded about 70,000 visitors on Friday—an all-time high—and another 62,000 on Saturday. We had been averaging 2,000 to 3,000 visits a day. During one two-hour period, we had more than 17,000 visitors come to aSmarterChoice.org—which temporarily froze our search tool—but we got it back up and running within the hour.”

[Featured Product: Compare Mortgage and Home Loans at Credit.com]

American Banker’s Association spokesperson Carol Kaplan says that its own data on the impact of Bank Transfer Day is not available yet, and won’t be available for at least a few more weeks. A Bank of America spokesperson reported that information about deposits is only reported with quarterly financial results.

The Word on the Street »

Image: dubnars, via Flickr.com

Pages: 1 2

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.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

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