60 Percent of Independent Banks See Spike in New Account Openings

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When Bank of America announced its $5 debit card fee and Citibank raised monthly account fees and minimum balances, consumers threw a fit, with many pledging to change banks and one woman launching a campaign for a November 5 “Bank Transfer Day.” As it turns out, some ticked-off account holders are so mad they’re not waiting until then. According to a poll conducted by the Independent Community Bankers of America, approximately 60% of 118 responding member banks say they have seen an increase in new account openings within the past few weeks, which bank executives attribute to customer discontent over big bank practices. Also, the ICBA says that over the past month, the number of unique visitors to its online bank locator tool has more than doubled.

(MORE: Bank of America Backlash: Consumers React to Debit Card Fee)

According to an online TIME Moneyland poll, around 75 percent of respondents said they’d rather switch banks than pay the new BofA fee. However, it can be a pain to switch banks, especially for account holders who use features like online bill pay and direct deposit.

(MORE: How To Divorce Your Bank in 5 Easy Steps)

It’s becoming clear, though, that discontent is motivating at least some customers to seek new financial institutions. For some people, it’s about the money; for others, it’s the principle. ICBA member David Glaser, a vice president at National Capital Bank in Washington, D.C., said in an Associated Press article that one new account holder came in with $250,000 — an amount well above the cutoff to avoid most fees — but still cited her old bank’s new fees as the driving force behind her decision.

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