"Move Your Money," a new initative from Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, urges Americans to move their savings into small, community-based banks, thereby punishing the Big Four — Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America — for triggering a financial crisis with their "reckless investments." Though traffic has been pouring into the Move Your Money website, where search tools help consumers find a strong community bank near them, will enough people make the switch to send a significant message to big banks? (Watch the "Move Your Money" viral campaign video)
Moving your money won't do any good: The Move Your Money campaign might make you feel good, says Yvette Kantrow in The Deal, which is why Arianna Huffington is "having a small, if probably temporary success in turning the decision on where to bank into a moral choice, like being green or buying organic." But it won't get you a better deal, or shame big banks into mending their ways. Like so many other reactions to the crash, this one "emphasizes symbolism over reality."
"It's the politics, stupid"
Not switching is "defeatist": "I don't really care whether switching my bank account from Chase to Mechanics Bank would strike a substantive blow against The Man," says Andrew Leonard in Salon. I'm switching because leaving my money in a big bank would be "defeatist." Maybe I won't get a better deal, and maybe I can't make Chase feel my pain — "but I'll feel better about myself in the morning."
"Why I plan to move my money"
The Big Four don't need your chump change: The average U.S. bank account has $4,000 in it, says Martha C. White in The Washington Post. To deprive the Big Four of even 5 percent of their deposits you'd have to get 2.6 million Americans to make the switch to small banks, and, with all the hassles that come with changing accounts, that's not going to happen. Besides, the small banks partner with the large banks to help finance many of their loans and other transactions, and that will "cushion any blow the big banks might feel."
"Ordinary Americans lack the power to hurt the big banks"
It's still worth doing: "The point here isn't to bring the big four to their knees," says Felix Salmon in Reuters. The Move Your Money campaign is "a much more positive thing," because it's telling people that they will be better off if they move their money to community institutions "(friendlier bank managers, lower fees, etc) and so will their community more generally. It’s a win-win proposition."
"The upside of the Move Your Money campaign"