This is a great story.
Over the past two weeks, I have been closing down and moving money out of my Bank of America accounts. I have done my personal and business (I own a consulting business) banking there for over ten years but have decided to vote with my wallet and express my displeasure with the system by removing my money from their clutches. One by one, I have zeroed out the balances on various accounts by transferring and consolidating via their website. After each transfer I then called to close the accounts over the phone without issue.
Yesterday was different. I visited a branch to make a business deposit and when I arrived, there were signs on the ATMs indicating that the system was down and that customers should come into the branch. Before I got to the business customers' line, I was stopped by a banking associate and asked the purpose of my visit. I told him I was there to make a deposit and he waved me to a desk. When I sat down the banker first asked for my account number. I don't know it, so I handed him my ATM card. That's when he explained that all of their computers were down, and although they would accept the deposit, without the account number they would have to give me a generic receipt. Say what huh? When I told him that my newly opened accounts at a local (small, community) credit union would like the deposit he insisted that their computers were down too. Fifteen minutes after leaving BoA I found that to not be true and the money was happily deposited into a new account at the CU without issue.
Later in the afternoon I hit up a different branch of BoA and found their computers working just fine. I went in, asked to speak with a banker and was seated in an office. When the young associate came in and asked the purpose of my visit, I handed her my ATM card and requested that she tell me the balance. When she did, I then asked for a cashiers check in that amount. That's when things got wonky. She froze, stumbled over her words and asked why I needed that amount (It was not a small sum). This gave me an opportunity to explain that although I personally would not be affected by their new fees I know plenty of friends and family that would feel the pain. In solidarity with them, I wished to close the account and move on. She unwittingly suggested that if I just use my debit card once a month then there would be no fee. That was good for a belly laugh from me, then I again requested the balance to be issued to me in the form of a cashier's check. She then told me that there would be a $10 fee for this service. Another laugh. I guess it didn't sink in when I told her that I was fee adverse. There was an easy work-around anyway - I requested the cash. That finished my time with this associate banker as the amount I was requesting was "well past" her daily limit for withdrawals. I asked if there would be an issue with securing the cash and she said "I honestly don't know if we have that here" and walked out to get the branch manager.
The manager was pleasant enough and very direct. After introducing herself she flat out asked "What can we do to change your mind?" "We don't want to see you go" she emphasized. This opened a door for me to further explain my decision to leave the bank and why I was doing it. Amazingly, it did not fall on deaf ears. She indicated that understood where I was coming from and actually showed genuine surprise at some of the facts I provided her about the less than consumer friendly policies and machinations of her employer. She did make some feeble counter-arguments and repeatedly asked me if I would change my mind (with a hint of desperation!). I stood firm and by the end of our conversation she asked if I would be willing to put it all in writing so she could send it up the chain.
She shared that management is nervous, they are seeing money leaking out of the bank and realize that they have made mistakes. She even hinted that there has been high-level discussion on reversing the new fess since there has been so much consumer push-back. They are also aware of the growing momentum behind the November 5th move your money movement.
Why do I share all of this with you? For one, I wanted to let people know that it IS still possible to withdraw large sums of cash from BoA and close your accounts - just be ready for them to beg. Two, that management is aware that people are angry (how could they not be!) and have put an ear to the ground.
Occupy protesters outside the San Francisco headquarters of BofA.