Back in November, hundreds of thousands of Americans took part in “Bank Transfer Day,” a day for those fed up with the actions of the nation’s biggest banks to move their money to a different institution. Initial estimates of the impact of Bank Transfer Day placed the number of accounts moved at around 600,000, but later estimates revised that downward to around 200,000.
However, new estimates from Javelin Strategy and Research, a research and consulting firm, show that the original numbers were closer to the truth. Javelin found that 5.6 million people have moved their bank accounts in the last 90 days, with 610,000 citing Bank Transfer Day as their reason:
Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy Movement have received tremendous attention, and for the first time we have market research data to measure the impact on the financial services industry. Javelin’s research estimates that 5.6 million U.S. adults with a banking relationship changed providers in the past 90 days. Of those switchers, 610,000 US adults (or 11% of the 5.6 million) cited Bank Transfer Day as their reason and actually moved their accounts from a large to a small institution.
Javelin noted that this pace of account closing is three times the normal rate. While 11 percent of people moving their accounts cited Bank Transfer Day, one quarter said they moved their money because their old institution charged too many fees. Account closures at Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank, actually jumped 20 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, potentially driven by the bank’s ill-fated decision to implement a $5 monthly fee for its debt cards.
According to the consulting firm cg42, the nation’s 10 biggest banks could lose as much as $185 billion in deposits this year due to customer defections. Of those banks, “Bank of America is the most vulnerable and could lose up to 10% of its customers and $42 billion in consumer deposits.” (HT: Business Insider)