MADISON, Wis. (12/8/11)--Bank Transfer Day organizer Kristen Christian, speaking Wednesday during the Credit Union National Association webinar, "Consumers are Fee'd Up With Banks: Let's Help Them Make a Change," said she's passionate about credit unions, but BTD requires too much of a physical and time commitment to organize each year.
Calling BTD a labor of love, Christian said she spent about 20 hours a day meeting commitments related to the event in the days leading up to Nov. 5. Because of the time commitment she said she didn't think it was feasible for her to hold annually.
"Credit unions and the American public can take it from here," she said. "Credit unions have a powerful message to share within their communities. I believe the motto, 'Every day is Bank Transfer Day' really will come full circle. Every day can be bank transfer day."
Christian will continue helping credit unions and small businesses leverage their messages through social media.
"They make a difference in the lives of the people in their communities," she said.
Christian told the story of what she called "the first American movement organized solely through social media." She endured death threats in helping inspire about 441,000 bank customers to transfer their accounts to credit unions, she said.
She told how the member service representative at her credit union recognizes her by name, a far cry from the $5 monthly debit card fee that turned her from "discontent to disgust" as a Bank of America customer.
She then invited 500 of her Facebook friends to close their bank accounts "independently, with respect and without signage."
She was taken by surprise when a reporter from the Village Voice soon called for an interview, but the Bank Transfer Day movement--and the resulting frenzy--had been launched. ABC World News, National Public Radio, Fox Business News, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times were among the media outlets that interviewed Christian.
Christian said credit unions can leverage the positive feedback from BTD by using social media to build a word-of-mouth following about their lower interest rates on loans and higher rates on checking and savings.
Christian appeared on CUNA's webinar with credit union marketers who shared their experiences from Bank Transfer Day. See related News Now story, 'Marketers in CUNA webinar share BTD stories."