Over the last few years an amazing sequence of events has occurred. Consumers have been hearing negative news about banks, from bailouts to bonuses to brand new fees; the general public is finally primed to hear about a better option, and it has all dropped in the laps of credit unions. Yet so many of you are still sitting on your hands. What are you thinking?!?!
Maybe a recap will help:
Beginning in 2009, Move Your Money (MYM) started people thinking about where they should bank. It built steam during 2010 only to slow down earlier this year. However, things have certainly heated up lately.
MoveOn.org and multiple other organizations are backing Rebuild The Dream, a web site that records how many people (46,000 and counting as of this post) have signed in and promised to move their accounts from BoA, Citi, and Chase, as well as an assortment of other banks .
Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and all the copycat Occupy events have shown just how frustrated people are, even if the 99%* don’t know what to do with the media attention they have been given.
One person actually focused her frustration and created Bank Transfer Day (BTD) – which, even with several logistical problems with the planning (a Saturday?) and theme (Guy Fawkes?), has obviously caught the attention of the public and of credit unions, several of whom have built campaigns to capitalize on the latest anti-bank press.
So what about the rest of you?
This is an amazing opportunity for credit unions to grab market share, a special chance to differentiate themselves from banks, an opportunity that only comes around maybe once. So start telling people about the credit union difference. Ask them to move all their accounts, not just their checking. And make it a priority, an ongoing campaign throughout the rest of 2011 and 2012, to which you devote plenty of time, resources and funding.
And hurry. Because the media attention right now is priceless.
*For data geeks, here’s an interesting bit of info on the remaining 1%: According to the IRS and The Week magazine, it takes an income of a little more than $516K a year to qualify as one of the richest 1% in America. Only 14% of that group are bankers, hedge fund managers and other financial people. Almost a third are executives in non-financial firms: 1 of 6 are in medicine, 1 of 12 is a lawyer, and there are more IT and engineers than entrepreneurs, more scientists than celebrities. Interestingly, more than half of US Senators and House members are included in that one percent.