Kristen Christian, Who Created 'Bank Transfer Day,' the November 5 Bank Boycott, Tells Us Why

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Designed by Eddie Colla
Earlier today we wrote of what appeared to be an Occupy Wall Street-related bank boycott planned for November 5th. We've spoken to Kristen Christian, the 27-year-old creator of the event, who has clarified some things. For one, it's not an Occupy Wall Street-organized event, though members of the Occupied movement support the idea and are planning to join in. Further, it's not an effort based in anarchy, or an event that Christian hopes will cause an economic crisis (any more than the one we're already in). "It's not people taking their money and burying it under their mattress. It's shifting the money to a company people respect the practices of. It's like, if you don't like Wal-Mart's practices, shopping at a local grocery store instead." More from Christian on Bank Transfer Day, after the jump.

What's the relationship between Bank Transfer Day and Occupy Wall Street?
It's not being organized by Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street is supporting it -- every branch I've connected with has been amazingly supportive of the concept and a single person standing up and saying "I'm done." [ed: Patrick Bruner of Occupy Wall Street tells us, "I believe that we will most likely choose to join in, but as of now
cannot say for certain."
]

Have you spoken to Occupy Wall Street?
I've been in contact with members from Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where I live... some of them have been taking it upon themselves to post on their Facebook pages and websites. But this is literally a private citizen who had enough. In terms of what you are going to accomplish with a sign, standing on the sidewalk -- you can't just sit in a public street until you get your way. This is taking direct action, saying OK, we've had enough. I think that's why we've garnered so most support.

The Facebook page for the event has only been up for three days?
It was literally, as of 2 p.m. today, 3 days. There are now 8,794 people attending.

Do you bank at one of the big banks?
I do currently bank at Bank of America, both personally and for my business, and I am waiting until the 4th to pull out my money. I've been told that because it's a business account, I won't be able to do it online, so I have to do it on the 4th in person.

Why did you decide to do this?
Mostly just, I was tired. I was tired of being charged bank fee after bank fee after bank fee. If their site is down, if I call in, I get a 2 dollar charge. That's not my fault. When they decided to react so negatively to the Durbin Amendment, that made me sick.

Another example: I took my mother to a Mother's Day brunch, and she had to pay because the bank decided to freeze my funds. It took nearly three days to give me access again. They said it was frozen for suspicious activity, but they made no attempt to contact me, they just froze my funds. The straw that broke the camel's back was the info that the banks had made donations to the NYPD prior to the police abusing Occupy Wall Street protesters. I believe it was Chase, but regardless, their behaviors are all so similar, it was sickening. The bank was using money they made off me and my funds to give the NYPD money to abuse people I see as my brothers and sisters.

So it started as a small movement -- the initial invite was to 500 people -- and then it started going to the Occupied Facebook walls.

It looks like it's been sent to some 60,000 people.
I've recommended to supporters that Facebook doesn't have the capacity to handle the amount of pending invites, plus people don't often check their Facebook events. They do check their newsfeed and friends' walls, so I'm recommending that people post to their timeline, post to the wall of their local occupation movement, and there are flyers available for printing on the Facebook page.

313694_2326517996021_1041795803_2683684_793752765_n.jpg
It's amazing how far the movement has gone with the people. People are spreading the word on their own; in my hometown, at the local farmer's market, many are posting flyers on display at their stands, and there's also an effort to put likenesses of the flyers on big rigs and drive down the highway, so everyone will get the message.

Have you been involved in the Occupied L.A. movement?
I haven't been able to get there as much as I would have liked, but I will be at the General Assembly on Saturday.

What's your business?
I own an independent art gallery called Le Spec. The gallery does everything I think we should expect from banks. I work with local artists. With commissions, one of the models was never going over a 45% commission so an artist receives the majority of the retail price of the artwork.

Do you consider yourself one of the 99 percent?
Definitely. I think that every person you and I will ever speak to is one of the 99 percent. We'll never have direct contact with the 1 percent.

Have you been surprised by the public response to Bank Transfer Day?
I've been absolutely in awe of the response. I got a call at 3 a.m. from a good friend saying "we hit 6,000" -- every time I see the number go up it just warms my heart. I knew a lone person standing up and saying, "I'm taking my money out of your accounts," that's a cricket chirp. Having 8,000 people stand up, that's definitely a chorus that will be hard for them to ignore.

Is the date, November 5, significant?
I picked the 5th because I hope this will give a new name to the 5th of November -- not as a failed terrorist attack but as Americans standing up and saying we've had enough.

Have you found your credit union?
I'm currently speaking with First Entertainment Credit Union, in L.A. They do incredible work, and are accessible through 7/11 ATMs. I am exploring my options. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that any services a big bank can provide can be provided by smaller companies that are not acting the way the banks have.

Will you ever go back to a big bank?
Absolutely not. The model for the ways they've done business is a thing of the past, and they really need to rework their system and look at not just how they've treated their customers but also how they treat and invest in their community.

There's an artist in California who's been painting Chase banks on fire. Have you seen his work?
Yes, I posted two of Alex Schaefer's images on the event page. I was very inspired by the article I read about him. He was questioned by the police on whether he really wanted to burn banks!

I've been very careful to state that this is not about bringing down the Fed, it's not anarchy. We've gotten quite a few people saying this will cause an economic collapse. Yeah, we may be out the money we gave the banks for the bailout, but it's not people taking their money and burying it under their mattress. It's shifting the money to a company people respect the practices of. It's like, if you don't like Wal-Mart's practices, shopping at a local grocery store instead.

This is not an act of terrorism or treason, it's a boycott. It's as simple as that.

Previously: Occupy Wall Street Leads to a Planned Bank Boycott

[JDoll / @thisisjendoll]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.



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72 comments
jra123
jra123

Kristen Christian is an opportunist whose focus is building her personal brand, rather than being a part of a democratic and grass roots movement for credit unionism. This has become recently evident as Kristen has blocked and banned anyone who disagrees with any of her views from this "cooperative movement's" social media spaces. It's quite ironic that the self appointed leader of a co-op movement is an egotistical tyrant who does not allow any other ideas or voices to be heard than her own. Dissenters are publicly shamed, falsely accused of harassment and bullying, and then completely silenced from all Bank Transfer Day community forums - since they are all controlled by Kristen Christian (who, amusingly, writes on Bank Transfer Day's page using the pronoun "we" even though "we" is totally, absolutely, only Kristen Christian). The credit union movement is not behind Kristen Christian, and the media should not recognize her as the movements leader. The bank transfer movement is cooperative and democratic - Kristen Christian is anything but.

Pattiroguzbritt
Pattiroguzbritt

Can't we boycott heath insurance companies one at a time when it comes time for renewal we choose one to boycott and who ever can does. We could make a difference.

austin furniture stores
austin furniture stores

One option would be to use a ¼" sheet of plyboard over the existing set of slats. This covers the gaps between the slats and the slats beneath the plyboard will have trouble supporting the plyboard. The thin nature of ¼" should also help to hide it between the mattress and slats so that it isn't visible. It's best to measure the inside length and width of your bedframe where the mattress rests and subtract 1-2" from each dimension to be sure that the piece of plyboard you are cutting will fit correctly over the slats and won't hang over any edges. If you're worried about movement you can find non-slip material in most major hardware stores and home stores. It's the same material used in kitchen cabinets and under rugs to keep things from moving around.

concerned
concerned

Kristen Christian is not one to speak about doing the right thing. She sold work at her opening show at Le Spec gallery and failed to turn over a percent of the profits to the artist. Also, at the conclusion of the show she failed to return the artwork to the artist it belonged to. Way to look out for the little guys Kristen. 

 high risk merchant account
high risk merchant account

I have read the whole blog and i found very useful information such as different type of small business blog. The overall article is really very informative and thanks for providing such kind of great information with us. 

吳世欽
吳世欽

<佔領華爾街運動>的週邊衍生產品!

Sarduyregina
Sarduyregina

Banks are not taking the huge part of our incomes, have you checked your homeowners insurance,automobile and health insurance premiums, they are outrageous.Well I have been doing that, in fact today I just received my homeowners insurance and it was increased by 2414.00, new policy premium for 170,000 coverage is at 8414.00 .That is a ripoff, not to mention automobile.America is working to pay for insurance

never say never
never say never

Haven't millions who had a life lost their jobs because of financial institutions. You're almostright,banks will try not to change.

WhyOccupy?
WhyOccupy?

Why doesn't Ms. Christian go to the real source of the problem it's not the banks, it's the government. Why don't you protest in front of the White House, Barney Frank's and Chris Dodd's house? They are the ones who authorized the bailouts and/or are the ones putting the regulations on banks so they have to raise their fees. Why not protest in front of Fannie and Freddie who needed billions of taxpayer funds to bail them out while their execs walked away with millions of taxpayer funds. Bill Clinton and Janet Reno started this housing mess by threatening to sue banks if they didn't make loans to unqualified buyers in low income areas. They very people who were never going to be able to pay back these loans under the misguided idea that everyone should own a home regardless of their ability to afford to pay for them. As far as the Wall Street "fat cats" go, Obama has taken more in donations from Wall Street firms then ANY other President in history (and he is still collecting there).  Obama has spent more in 3 years than any other President n U.S. history! Some banks did wrong but, this anger at banks is somewhat mis-directed and should be at the White House and the politicians who are causing the problems with the economy. Excessive and burdensome regulation on business and the highest corporate tax rates and a major part of this problem of no jobs being created. With all we hear that the corporations are holding on to their money and not spending to hire, you have to ask why would they do this? Why would they not want to expand and make more profit? Uncertainty for the future and taking risk. Are you willing to start a business in this economy? Are you personally spending more now, or saving more? If you work in your job for 40 hours and take home X dollars, or work 60 hours and make no more money, why would you work the extra 20 hours? Millionaires aren't stupid. If more of the money they earn is going to be taken away, they will either move their money offshore or to tax free investments. If the government were to confiscate all of the wealth from the "evil" 1%, to redistribute to the 99%, the 1% would soon have it all back because they learned how to make it in the first place. If Mr. Buffett feels quilty about having so much money and feels he is under taxed, send in a few billion to the IRS, they will accept it. Besides, who are these people who can sit in at these protests for months and don't have to work? Apparently, they must not be hurting for money too badly. According to the news reports a high percentage of these people are homeowners who have homes valued at over $300K and many have homes over $500K. Hmm, they seem to be the 1 percent... The 53% who pay federal income taxes who support the 47% who pay no federal income tax are the ones who should be upset. I am not a member but compare the "Tea Party" groups, who want less government handouts and bailouts, and had no arrests and left the places they gathered and then left the area in good shape with the Occupy groups, with the arrests, the violence, and trash who want more government and hanouts. There is no comparison. When there are more takers than makers in the U.S. then we will be Greece and America will have collapsed. Capitalism is the only system that will give people opportunity and freedom. The only way to ever give everyone an equal share is to make them equally poor. It starts with "equality" and ends in Tyranny. Also as you can see the Socialist utopia of the EU, Greece has collapsed, is this where you want to go Occupiers?     

Anahatabodyworks
Anahatabodyworks

Check out Union Banks new fee scheme. Rename a standard checking account, raise the base balance to an amount probably not held by many of us and charge" fees"for not being able maintain that balance.

Charley LeChien
Charley LeChien

Kristen Christian, Hopefully you will educate Mary Orlena all about this someday.  Im just someone you know that lives where Mary and you both lived in another state.

Ron Haire
Ron Haire

Very  very very, cool. Contact me. I have a Jazz Band, we'd love to play at your next art exhibit. You deserve all the recognition you can get. God Bless you. Ron (909)561-2781  ronhairesgroup2yahoo.com 

YouStinkHippie
YouStinkHippie

So, they made bank transfer day a Saturday? Anybody else see the folly here?

Chehiry_15
Chehiry_15

Get life all banks are the same they won't change. If you close down the bank your putting millions of people out of a job.Loser

Bob Armstrong
Bob Armstrong

Yes, move your money out of the offending banks. And consider buying a few 1 ounce silver bullion coins. Just for good luck! Spot price at 3:55PM EDT on 10/25/11 -$33.25/ oz. Pay no more than a 5- 8% premium. Consider the American Silver Eagle or the Canadian Maple Leaf. Do not buy collectible, numismatic coins.

John
John

What about the 1% of us who aren't on facebook. Can't access the page!

Steve Heller
Steve Heller

"Do you consider yourself one of the 99 percent?

Definitely. I think that every person you and I will ever speak to is one of the 99 percent. We'll never have direct contact with the 1 percent."

She'll never have contact with a segment comprising one out of 100 people in the US? I think she needs to get out more.

Alex
Alex

I looked into the Credit Unions in Denver and I researched the salaries and compensation of the executives from the 1099 forms that can be found on www.guidestar.org.   To my dismay the CEO of these 'non-profits' are being compensated $500K + per year.  The rest of the execs get around $300K + per year.  I bet a teller makes $10/hr.  SO TIRED OF CORPORATE GREED EVERYWHERE!

ken Lao
ken Lao

 The level of stupid that comes out of the mouths of the wackos "Occupying" Wall Street is starting to make the Tea Party wackos on the other side of the fence look appealing.  If your paying bank fees then that's your own fault...call your bank and tell them you want a no fee account or your changing banks and they will give you one.  If your paying ABM fees then stop withdrawing money from ABM's.  If you don't like the interest rate on your credit card then pay off what you buy with it in under thirty days and you wont pay any interest at all.  Banks are no more "evil" then any other business. The creator of the "Bank Transfer Day" says she takes up to 45% of the proceeds from an artists work if it sells in her gallery...that seems unfair, maybe we need to start up a facebook event encouraging her customers to find a new place to buy art.

2012 Blog
2012 Blog

Yes, it's about punishing bad behavior and bad policies, and rewarding good behavior in banks.  Here is more information: http://bit.ly/quJqpi

Terranullus
Terranullus

The fact is that if you are a depositor in a bank you have every legal right to withdraw the money that is in your account. Remember the bank OWES you this money as it is literally on loan to the bank.

What you do with your money after withdrawing it is also none of the bank's business, you have a legal right to your money and if the banks don't like it then they can go fly a kite.

Mrsgarwood
Mrsgarwood

Very inspiring! I too opened with First Entertainment 2 days ago. I was also going to close out my children's accounts at Chase, but now I will wait until the 5th to do it! Thanks!

rich
rich

      Kristian we have to take advantage of the momentum created by ows.  We had our Occupy Danbury Ct. rally last night (it was a terriffic success 70 people showed up) and now my plate is empty so I can devote 100% of my energy towards 11/5/11.  Please contact me, I'll willing to conduct the Connecticut contingency.  Rich

Bob Manalo
Bob Manalo

Finally the people, the 99%, can let their voices(wallets) be heard.  If we let our collective $$$ speak for us, you can bet that Wall Street, the big banks and our politicians will listen.

yahoo-L5KRMJKZZH7IYXSEDHY76Y3IOI
yahoo-L5KRMJKZZH7IYXSEDHY76Y3IOI

Don't leave the future of this country solely up to the politicians and the lawmakers! Take a stand for what you believe in! Granted you may or may not agree with what these people have to say but at least they are trying to become politically involved in influencing the future of this great nation.Belittling their efforts for the sake of putting people down is distasteful to say the least.

Kristensucks
Kristensucks

All financial institutions including CREDIT UNIONS charge some type of fee. This will have no impact to the financial industry. Maybe if Kristen got a real job and didnt put so much effort in this effortless movement, she wouldnt have to pay bank fees for bouncing her checkbook.

Henry83
Henry83

"Remember, Remember... The 5th of November"... Isn't that a line from that movie, V for Vendetta?

Dixie Tobiaski
Dixie Tobiaski

We all have had it with Wall Street GREED, BIG BANKS treating us as crap. Congress and the President afraid to take a stand against the wealthy 1 %, TIME TO STAND UP AMERICA to the GREED of the wealthy who are getting richer why we get poorer!

Roland
Roland

An even better reason to transfer your money to small banks can be found in "Infinite Exposure", a novel about how the off-shoring of IT jobs and data centers leads to the largest terrorist financial strike the world has ever seen and nuclear war before the end of 2012.  You can read the first 18 chapters for free here:  http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebo...

rich frasconeFrasconr
rich frasconeFrasconr

In order to get more traction why don't you try using the Move your Money website set up by Adrianna Huffington.  It a well designed site which nobody seems to use.  Try it,  Rich.

Papi_1210
Papi_1210

I for one, work in the retail banking industry and have seen and felt the backlash of fee gouging that banks impose upon customers.... I ask myself, "Why do the big banks charge these fees?" Obviously, revenue lost from the amount of overdraft fees banks were collecting and the revenue lost from merchant processing rates being regulated have forced banks to scramble to ensure quarterly earnings still reflect double digit growth... Yes, I know that this opinion may seem uneducated and straightforward, but the truth is, it is right and wrong...  Let me break this down:1. It is right because, as any shareholder knows, your stock portfolio looks better when your portfolio reflects continuous growth; therefore, attracting more investors, inflating stock value, increased dividends... 2. It is right because, as any member of the Board of Director knows, their jobs are much easier when they can talk about profits and gains in order to attract future investors and shareholders - revisit number 1; versus write-downs and losses... Just ask those who sit on the Board for BofA...3. It is right because, as any employee of the bank knows, the culture in which they work perpetuates a daily propaganda of revenue generating and product cross-selling activities to drive performance metrics: Service Scores (creating customer "loyalty"), Lending Goals, Profit Proxy Goals, Product Goals, Cross Selling Goals (how many sticky products can we give a client; in order to keep them as a "loyal" customer); therefore, employees are rewarded with incentives that can be earned if they achieve these high goals! 4. It is right because, as any customer of the bank knows, they have numerous products and services that were given to them (whether or not they really needed them)... They have these products because they were told by their trusted banker that the products would benefit them: Save them Money, Convenience, Save them Money, Peace of Mind, Save them Money, Save them Time, Save them Money and Make them Money!!! 

Now, Why is it all Wrong?  1.  It is wrong because, as any employee of the retail bank knows, we are pressured into participating in activities to drive the aforementioned performance metrics.  If an employee fails to execute in those activities at the highest level and drive these so called performance metrics, they are typically put on the path of corrective action leading to termination if they fail to produce at high levels!  Why is this wrong? It is wrong because most employees have a conscience and know that what they are doing is not exactly what we could call "right"! Employees are "coached" to cross sell as many products possible... If they can not sell a product, a manager is expected to intervene to force the sale... And, this practice is a guise to drive customer satisfaction scores! This practice goes much deeper than my simplistic "tell all"!2. It is wrong because, as many customer's know, they have so many products and services with their bank, which makes it very hard for them to make a choice to move to another bank or have relationships with other financial institutions. They become a loyal customer by the choice of the bank! Why does this happen? As, I have stated before, it is the culture within the bank itself... Products and services are pushed down the throat of unsuspecting customers.  By the time it is all said and done the customer is pinned into something that was never fully explained to them! What does this all mean? Meaning, customers are not told about fees or worse, they are told there would not be any fees for their relationship.  Bankers are smart enough to give the customer just enough information to get them to say yes! The hook has been set and now, the loyal customer cannot make a choice to ensure they are not charged fees.  Remember, they have sticky products which make it very hard for a customer to leave the bank.  They have the Checking Account - supports all their deposit options such as Direct Deposit - a requirement to keep their account free, supports the majority of their day to day transactions/purchases with a Debit Card - a requirement at some banks to keep the account free, supports their payment options with a Bill Pay service - a requirement at some banks to keep their account free, Supports all their savings options with an Auto Transfer from checking to Savings - a requirement at some banks to keep their account free, supports their mortgage options - requirement to get a better rate (even though their rate is high to begin with) on their mortgage or to keep the Checking Account free they must have their mortgage payment auto deducted out of their account.....The list goes on and on; therefore, making it very hard and inconvenient for the customer to have choices with other financial institutions and forces them to have their entire relationship with the one financial institution... 3. It is wrong because, the banks know they can attract customers with offering numerous banking locations, ATM network, Online Banking Services, Mobile Banking, Creative Advertising Campaigns, Overwhelming Customer Service Tactics - I have heard it referred to as Wow in some banking locations.  This is the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing tactic!  Lull the customers into feeling as though going to the bank that day was the best experience they ever had! Only to be duped months later with fees, balance requirements and product changes! Long after they have given the bank their entire financial relationship!4. It is wrong because, the banks have plenty of capital to lend to customers, but they choose not to! Yes, they lend, but only to the very best of the best of customers. Getting a credit card could be next to impossible at most banks... Many banks will not to lend to the customers who need it the most...5. It wrong because, the Board of Directors and Shareholders, turn a blind eye to these practices that take place in the banking environment in which they support.  They expect profits, they expect growth and they expect it all the time.  Missing projected earnings is not an option as this could impact their wallets! And, Shareholders and the Board of Directors are the number one priority of any financial institution and they will drive to achieve the goal no matter the cost or impact on customers or employees. 

Bev
Bev

I guess people don't realize there real people with real families, bills etc. that work for these big banks. So what happens to them?.

Joe
Joe

Why not a Saturday?

Akakakakakdd
Akakakakakdd

It is a matter of choice. Do you protest against local restaurant which has hamburgers $ 2 to $ 5 more expensive than McDonalds? It is a free market. Look for quality with the equitable costs. Millions of people employed in banking industry are honest, respectfull and hard working individuals. In order to provide their salaries banks need to generate revenue like any other business. It is 21st century. Forget about the times banking was for free. Banks have to sit on large amounts of cash loosing potential profits because there is no place for them to invest, Do you go to grocery store and leave with items without paying? It is time to grow up, folks.

Teresakoenecke
Teresakoenecke

I am moving my money to a bank that wont charge me a debit card use fee. That makes me a wacko? I also buy gas at the station with the lowest price. It's nothing personal, it's just business. I asked Wells Fargo in Newcastle, Wa. if there was a way I could avoid this fee, like opening a savings account in addition to my checking and credit card accounts. They said no. Is someone paying you to make these illogical comments?

Chase Sucks
Chase Sucks

This will have no impact on the financial industry?  It will if enough people close their accounts.

rich
rich

    Don't be an ass-hole!  There's a big difference between charging a fee, and lining your pockets. (greed)  Are'nt you part of the 99%?  Rich.

Blake
Blake

Her job is not "real"? Perhaps she should get a job at a bank, would that be a "real job"? And yes, they all charge fees, however the big banks charge many more than other banks and the fees are usually much higher. I would think ANY person would know this, it's common sense. Also, why are you so bothered by what she and others are doing?? Are you a banker? What's wrong with her taking action against corporate greed????? What is wrong with people in this country? I'm only 26 and I have known for a long time that there is so much greed and corruption in the u.s. that people need to stand up against because it affects us all....Yet, many people older and supposedly wiser or more educated can't figure this out! Or they are against taking a stand and actually SUPPORT the greed of the 1%!!! It's really crazy....

Elkinken
Elkinken

You know howe much the top 1 percent make in this country.  Probably not--sheep.

rich
rich

    That's the spirit!  Spread the word.  Rich

Turk
Turk

... fascinating; now please, tell us more!

Gcurrie
Gcurrie

There will be job openings at the credit unions.

Seriously, let's reframe this. If I stop going to McDonald's and instead make my own lunch, I am depriving people and their families of a living. Right? Except... what about the people at the grocery store who just got a job due to my changing my lunch habits? If I now switch back, THOSE people will be living in cardboard boxes!

What to do, what to do? Whatta dilemma!

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