Jeremy and I started the process of switching our bank accounts and credit card to our local credit union today. I know it sounds simultaneously dorky and bourgeois, but it's our own small way of participating in the Occupy movement that's been bubbling out from Wall Street in New York. There has been a related movement on Facebook to participate in "Bank Transfer Day," by moving your money to a credit union or local bank by Nov. 5th, which honestly speaks to me more than taking to the streets. You can read more about the movement in Time Magazine.
Protesting in Asheville doesn't have quite the same impact it does in, say, Charlotte, N.C., where my little brother has been out with the crowds on Trade Street, the heart of Charlotte's financial district. Asheville throws a protest almost every freaking weekend, so you get to the point where you're burnt out on marching and shouting and hand-scribbling signs. Maybe this is simply further proof that I've become another boring adult, but withdrawing our small savings and checking accounts from the commercial banking system seems like it has more heft than anything else I can think to do right now.
If you're interested in doing the same, the North Carolina State Employee's Credit Union has a checklist with some good advice about how to switch your accounts here. It sounds a little daunting, but it only took about 15 minutes in the credit union office today to open our new accounts, and we have several weeks before Nov. 5th to switch our direct deposits and withdrawals. After that, we can close our old accounts and sleep a little better at night.
We're lucky enough to qualify for membership in our local credit union, but if you don't, another alternative to consider is transferring your money to a small local or regional bank. The Asheville area has a wealth of them, including Asheville Savings Bank and Blue Ridge Savings Bank, but simply doing a search for banks in your area or flipping through the yellow pages should turn up similar results.