Since the 99 Percent Movement began last fall, activists have pushed consumers to transfer their money from big banks that were at the center of the financial crisis to smaller community banks and credit unions. Thus far, their efforts have been successful. Around 200,000 moved their accounts on “Bank Transfer Day” in November (early estimates of 600,000 were revised down), and in the last 90 days, more than 5.6 million moved their accounts, with more than 600,000 citing Bank Transfer Day as the reason.
Today, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, activists in New York City will target Bank of America, citing the bank’s shoddy consumer record regarding its mortgage lending practices and its support for hazardous environmental practices like mountaintop removal coal mining, according to a press release published at the Paramus Post:
Bank of America loves profits more than people. We, the 99%, want out of this abusive relationship. Bank of America has foreclosed on more homes than any other bank in the United States. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, housing and environmental activists will break up with Bank of America.
According to the release, activists organized by Mountain Justice, an environmental group, and various groups associated with Occupy Wall Street will gather at New York’s Washington Square this afternoon before marching to a local Bank of America branch and delivering thousands of blue valentines. Bank of America is a “grave threat to US financial stability,” the release says, and it also has “an ugly relationship with the planet: bankrupting the ecosystem with their investments in the coal industry–lending billions of dollars to companies seeking to build new coal-fired power plants.”
Bank of America has been the target of protests over its financial and foreclosure practices, ranging from charging customers fees to withdraw unemployment benefits, foreclosing on homes because of clerical errors, and perpetuating fraudulent foreclosure practices. The bank, meanwhile, has been targeted repeatedly by environmental activists for its connections to Big Coal.
According to one consulting firm, Bank of America is the most susceptible bank to bank transfer protests and could lose up to 10 percent of its customers and $42 billion in customer deposits.