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San Diego Labor Group Says Bye Bye To Big Banks

Aired 11/2/11 on KPBS News.

San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council is pushing big-bank customers to switch from a Wall Street bank to a Main Street bank on Wednesday, ahead of a national effort to withdraw money from big banks this weekend.

Amid loud shouts from anti-Wall Street demonstrators across the country, a San Diego labor group is encouraging people to move their money out of big banks Wednesday.

Some already have.

Jae Hansen of Point Loma said he was fed up with bank fees and bailouts. He recently made the switch to a local credit union.

"After the bailouts were given, the CEO's got big bonuses and that was beyond craziness for us. We decided we want to put the money in the community, we want to keep it close by, and that's why we made the change," he said.

Lorena Gonzalez is with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. She's encouraging big-bank customers to make the switch too, calling today, "Withdrawal Wednesday." Union leaders will be rallying outside Wells Fargo and Bank of America in downtown San Diego on the corner of 5th and B Streets at noon.

"I think if we all actually pull our resources, they'll get the message that its no longer acceptable for the top of our society to have control of the money and continue to have practices that hurt everyday working folks," Gonzalez said.

But some customers may decide to stick it out with big banks after all. Tuesday, Bank of America announced it had a change of heart, after it got an earful from its customers over a proposed monthly debit card fee. It's dropping the $5 monthly fee.

Spokeswoman Anne Pace said, "We listen to our customers, we're responding to our customers, their feedback will be taken into account in all the decisions the bank makes."

Bank of America will not say how many of customers it has lost. A nationwide effort to get people to move their money to community banks is happening Saturday.

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