When I was outraged by the fees several "big banks" were planning to charge, I took action. After moving my money to a credit union, I created a Facebook event encouraging others to follow my lead. Since October 2011 Bank Transfer Day has inspired millions of Americans to change the way they bank, and similar movements have sprung up across the world. While continuing to advocate for consumer empowerment & economic sustainability, I work as a public speaker and consultant to help ethical organizations connect with their communities.

LINKS: Wikipedia Article & Press Kit

PROOF: Twitter & Facebook

EDIT: I'd like to thank everyone who tuned in for this AMA! It's dinner time here, but if you still have questions, please feel free to either ask them here or on Facebook. I'll respond as soon as I'm able. Have a great weekend!!

Comments: 303 • Responses: 129  • Date: 

Tanyril69 karma

Switching to a local credit union is among one of the best decisions I've made in my adult life.

coopkristen19 karma

I'm so glad to hear that! How has membership changed your life?

Tanyril31 karma

For one, I'm treated like a human being when I go to my branch instead of a nuisance.
They have hours that let me get banking done around my schedule (They're open until 7 pm weekdays)

I ACTUALLY get INTEREST on my savings account. No shit. Seriously. It's basically banking from the 90s, except... well, I'm profiting myself.

coopkristen11 karma

That's great! If your credit union participates in shared branching, have you had a chance to check it out? I've found it a lot more convenient... even banking with a credit union 4 hours away from where I live.

Tanyril7 karma

I don't believe they do.

coopkristen6 karma

As a member-owner, you can ask them to! It's made banking so much easier for me.

Tanyril3 karma

I'll certainly look into it. Thanks for the tip!

coopkristen3 karma

You're welcome!


Just pick a credit union with branches all over the country. Both Veridian and Collins Community have branches all over Iowa, I assume they're nationwide as well. John Deere is pretty much only in Waterloo / Cedar Falls, I assume that's who you went with?

coopkristen1 karma

My credit union has a limited number of branches. I like that their focus is specifically on the community that made me the woman I am today. Yet... I can bank anywhere in the country & even have no issues traveling outside of the US because my credit union participates in shared branching.


Cool story broah

coopkristen1 karma

Shared branching is pretty cool, huh?

phishbot19 karma

What were some of the greatest challenges you faced when setting up Bank Transfer Day? Did any of the banks retaliate against you personally?

coopkristen40 karma

The time commitment that was required that first month was a huge challenge. I ended up putting my life completely on hold to give the campaign the effort it deserved. There have been a handful of banking executives who have tried to discredit me, but they haven't gotten very far. There was one side effect I didn't expect— the FBI has apparently added my name to the Selectee List. I can still travel, but I'm scanned, patted, swabbed, searched & interrogated every time I fly.

mac-dreidel28 karma

That is sickening to hear

coopkristen20 karma

Meh. I try to keep a sense of humor about it. All you can do.

dynamicstereo10 karma

Think of it as a pre-flight massage.

coopkristen17 karma

Haha. Next time they pat me down I'm going to mention that I have a kink in my neck that I'd love for them to work on.

techrich14 karma

Well you annoyed the big players in the world, its a shame they have to use such tactics rather than making there companies better.

coopkristen15 karma

Sadly, I think a sense of entitlement may be preventing these corporations from taking a hard look at how they could be more appealing to the average person.

techrich5 karma

They are not entitled to anything, people can vote with their money! But you are right though.

coopkristen11 karma

The sooner bankers realize that no one is entitled to anything he or she doesn't earn, the sooner they may be able to salvage their organizations' public image. Companies must be mindful of how their actions impact communities if they hope to receive patronage from this new civic-minded generation of consumers.

techrich4 karma

People are getting more savvy with there money. And people wont stand for any crap these days! I am from the UK and have just found one in my city that i am interested in. Thanks for doing this IAma! I didnt even knew they existed.

coopkristen0 karma

Glad to hear from an international supporter! If you're in the UK, you may be interested in Cooperative Trust. I've been following their work since Bank Transfer Day, and it's really impressive! James Marshall, the leader of this fantastic group is based in London.

well_golly2 karma

"... people can vote with their money!"

How dare you!

You are now subscribed to lifelong mandatory TSA searches.

coopkristen2 karma

In fairness, it was a bit more complex. The hacker group Anonymous claimed credit for Bank Transfer Day... effectively saying I was a member of Anonymous, which I'm not. I understood being initially investigated & even being put on the list. It bothers me that they haven't figured out yet that I'm not a risk.

well_golly2 karma

I think Anonymous should claim credit for various Senators' re-elections then. Or maybe claim connections to certain bank directors. Why not? After all, anyone can claim to be part of anonymous. In the end what really happened was this:

An unknown person made wild claims that he or she was in anonymous. Then that person then made claims that they helped you or otherwise "liked" you. Maybe they just "believe in what you are doing".

... and you don't think a bank could have been behind that? With such paltry criteria for proof, I could frame you.

Question: If anonymous decides to officially endorse Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and ask that all of its members buy Ben & Jerry's ... Will the government start clamping down on the directors of B&J? It sounds like a silly question, but I think it touches on a serious idea.

Note that this "Ben & Jerry's" endorsement wouldn't be the most crazy thing that ever happened. Word on the street is that the Church of Scientology compelled its members to see the Scientology promoting movie "Battlefield Earth", to boost it's weekend figures (to no avail, BTW) - if people can endorse a box office dog like that, why not B&J?

So my question: Would the government do this if you were the head of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, and Anonymous endorsed ice cream?

If the answer is "yes", then we see conclusive proof of a government looking for any excuse to just put everyone on a "watch list".

If the answer is "no", then they are after you because of banks - and some random person making wild claims that they are with Anonymous is just the excuse they are giving.

coopkristen1 karma

Anonymous put out a video claiming that they were behind Bank Transfer Day. When I went on various news channels to set the record straight, Anonymous apologized & indicated that an operative had assumed I "must be one of theirs" because of the combination of my weird name & being an attractive young woman. (Because pretty girls never have good ideas, right?) So, there you have it... every group has someone who seriously needs to think before he/she speaks, including Anonymous.

_what_happened11 karma

What's it like having your first name and last name being remarkably similar?

coopkristen4 karma

It's actually pretty awesome! People don't seem to easily forget it, telemarketers struggle to pronounce it, and people randomly sing Night Ranger at me.

amw1571 karma

Is that your married name? Or did your parents choose that combination for you?

coopkristen1 karma

Please read back through the comments to any of the 100 times I answered this before. Thanks! :)

cb986789 karma

For those new to this like myself, Where does one start in respect to finding a Credit union? Any gotcha's or tips we should know about when signing up? are there hidden benefits that we should be aware of ? how about pitfalls we should avoid ?

Thank you for doing this. Thank you for making a difference .

coopkristen13 karma

The best place to find credit unions is A Smarter Choice. Once you find credit unions in your area, you can begin asking the important questions. Most consumers seem to care most about: shared branching, online banking, mobile banking, remote check deposit, interest rates on loans & lines of credit. In addition to all of that, I asked my credit union how they would use the profit from my banking business to benefit the community I grew up in.

cb986785 karma

Thank you for answering this (again) I wanted it in the main Thread so everyone can see the answer. I am reviewing my options now. I am very excited to move to a Credit union and take my money away from these greedy banks.

coopkristen2 karma

You're very welcome! Let me know if you need anything else.

uliaryth8 karma

What do you think the biggest misconceptions about credit unions are?

When I talk up my credit union, I think the biggest questions people have are, "How do you make deposits without ATMS?" and "Are they FDIC insured?"

I was really surprised that my CU has phones open until after 9PM, I could do mobile banking (including mobile check deposit) and 12 of my ATM fees per month are waived. I'm still not sure how to answer the insurance question, though.

coopkristen5 karma

I think the name "credit union" might confuse some consumers, but a lot of people know what a "financial co-operative" is. With 1/3 of Americans being a member of one sort of co-operative or another, I'd be happy to see a more united front across the co-operative movement to mutually spread awareness about the benefits of the co-operative business model. I'd also love to see a national level marketing campaign.

bankssuck7 karma

What do you think about the Big Bank's lobbying Congress to remove the non-profit tax exemption from credit unions? If passed, this will crush the credit union's ability to compete against the banks. Check out http://www.donttaxmycreditunion.org/

coopkristen7 karma

I've been very supportive of the "#DontTaxMyCU" campaign. I think bankers must have a big brass pair to try for something like this. At the end of the day, our votes put candidates in office; no amount of campaign contributions can do that. They might have money, but 1/3 of all Americans are members of a co-operative... and that number's growing every single day.

Average4TheCongo2 karma

Agh! This makes me so angry!

coopkristen2 karma

Good! Channel that anger into action.

jmanpc5 karma

Big bank employee checking in.

Keep doing what you do. I really do work for the devil.

coopkristen1 karma

Thanks for stopping by & having a sense of humor. If you ever feel like leaving the dark side... CU Insight posts about credit union jobs.

Fancy_Pantalones5 karma

YAY for credit unions! I used to be the marketing manager for a big single-seg credit union. Loved our members, and loved the credit union philosophy even more. Question for you... how do you feel about the idea that credit unions are starting to act more like 'banks' and the ABA's lobby to start taxing credit unions?

coopkristen3 karma

In which ways do you feel credit unions are beginning to act more like banks? The efforts to eliminate the tax exemption status are ridiculous, at best. I see it as a last minute (and incredibly desperate) attempt to strong arm consumers into banking with them. If Senate allows this, there will be a lot of lawmakers out of work next election.

Fancy_Pantalones3 karma

The credit union I worked at didn't, but some in our area are being accused of it by having wide open charters, fees that are like a bank's, eliminating member givebacks, marketing like a bank... I'm talking top 10 CUs. Part of my responsibility at my CU was to help in the lobbying efforts with local politicians--letter writing in support of CUs, league lobbying, CUPAC activities. I'm not optimistic that one day the ABA will succeed in getting some sort of taxation passed. I interviewed at a regional bank recently, and it was a fun sparring match with the CEO over taxation.

coopkristen3 karma

The credit union I'm a member of expanded their charter from exclusively serving an Air Force base to serving multiple counties. There are some small fees involved, but I know the money's going to local schoolchildren instead of the CEO's pocket. I strongly recommend that consumers not support any business whose actions they don't support.

tessykins4 karma

No question here, just support and solidarity. I participated in the first Bank Transfer day as a part of my local Occupy encampment, and switching to a local credit union has been a decision I've only been happier for doing! Thank you for your organizing efforts!

coopkristen6 karma

Thank you! It's been amazing to see how this simple & direct action was appreciated by so many people. There are a lot of things Americans disagree on, but I think the vast majority of us believe that our communities need & deserve our support.

Insideplay4 karma

Very cool AMA Kristen, I just had one yesterday on student lending. My question for you, how do you see Credit Union consolidations affecting the overall industry over the next year? Some smaller CU's are folding with their business being picked up by larger neighboring institutions that run "better" programs.

coopkristen3 karma

Thanks, Ken! I think it's going to be both an interesting & challenging time for credit unions over the next decade. There's a lot of pressure to prevent credit unions from fully serving the American people. I'm grateful that there are programs like SoFi to help alleviate the burden students may feel from loans.

Insideplay3 karma

Funny you mention that, the CU's have been running a student loan consolidation through the cuGrad program

You know SoFi is Morgan Stanley right?

coopkristen2 karma

I met Ian Brady from SoFi at the G8 Summit Innovation Conference. He assured me that the lending was coordinated through donations by alumni, but I will definitely dig further into this.

Insideplay2 karma

Very innovative group there, I will send you some info. Also, check your FB for some info I just sent on our Google Hangout series, very exciting interviews planned.

coopkristen1 karma

Awesome! Will do.

mrshate4 karma

No question from me, just some support! I work for a growing credit union in the Midwest. I've worked on the front line as a teller and member service rep, but for the past three years I've been blessed to work in business lending. My favorite part about the credit union is how we focus on finding good products and services that improve your life/financial health. We don't have sales quotas. We take the time to look at our members and their situation and find solutions that work for them and us. I've had coworkers come from big banks and it takes awhile to get them to calm down. They almost suffer from bank PTSD.

coopkristen2 karma

It took me a while to get used to being a member, but now... I can't imagine ever going back!

Chartzilla3 karma

I've been a member of a credit union for a few years now, and while I would recommend it to anyone, the big banks do have their advantages.

I also have a Chase account that I use when I'm at school due to how many ATMs they have, how convenient their ATMs are, their mobile banking apps, and their generally very good customer service (free replacement debit cards, helpful tellers, etc). During hurricane Sandy, Chase had generators running at their branches and lifted restrictions on loans and waived overdraft fees to help people. My credit union also did some things to help out, but many of their branches were without power. I actually wrote myself a couple checks from my credit union and into my Chase account at access my money. In fact the only thing I don't like about Chase are how many things you can get fees for (using other ATMs, minimum balance, have to pay for first order of checks, etc).

I have all my paychecks direct deposited into my credit union, as they don't charge me to use out of bank ATMs, I get interest on my checking/savings accounts, and they don't charge me other BS fees. However customer service hasn't always been great and the ATMs they have don't compare to those of the big banks.

coopkristen2 karma

As a member-owner you have a say in how your credit union does business. If having access to shared branching, mobile banking & remote deposit would enable you to exclusively use their services... you should definitely tell them!

JamieKMG3653 karma

I haven't banked with an evil big bank since I was in high school . . . and I'm not young anymore. ;-)

coopkristen1 karma

That's great! Have any of your family or friends made the switch because of your recommendation?

asianorange3 karma

Have a "big bank" contacted you and try to change your mind on your cause?

coopkristen3 karma

I think most bankers were smart enough to know I wasn't going to change my mind or back down. The CEO of a "big bank" did call to apologize for the online behavior of one of his executives. This was after I'd emailed screenshots of the posts and proof of the person's employment to the CEO & members of major media.

einfal3 karma

Just wanted to stop by and say hi Kristen. Bank Transfer Day is an awesome concept, There is something in it for all, regardless of political affiliation. And that the person behind it all, is one special human being who cares!

Other than that.. you inspired me to join Reddit today!

coopkristen1 karma

Hi! Thank you! You're too kind. I think a lot of people care, but just aren't sure what they can actually do to impact positive chance. I'm glad you joined reddit too! It's a great community full of thoughtful people sharing fantastic ideas.

Adethier2 karma

Is your middle name Cristian

coopkristen2 karma

No. No, it's not.

cb986782 karma

Why was this removed? has it been moved?

coopkristen3 karma

I'm not sure why reddit has removed the text for other users. It's still viewable on my screen. Trying to contact moderators now.

cb986782 karma

Well when you get it figured out please let me know.

Real quick, I currently have Chase, I hate them and get charged on an average of $40 in fees just to bank . How do I find a credit union to move my money to ? I am Queens , NYC

coopkristen2 karma

Looks like they've sorted it. Phew!

I've found that the best resource for finding a credit union in America is A Smarter Choice. If you'd like, you can also comment on the Facebook wall & I'd be glad to ask for personal recommendations from other supporters.

cb986782 karma

You are super awesome , Thank you. I am looking into the A Smarter Choice now. if needed I have your Facebook added already and will post there (Facebook is how I found out about the AMA )

coopkristen2 karma

Glad to hear it! Please don't hesitate to ask if you need any help finding the perfect credit union for you.

hangmansdaughter2 karma


coopkristen1 karma

You know... my credit union is the first company to ever get my name right on the first try. The first time I walked into one of the branches, the branch manager spotted me and came rushing out to give me a hug even though we'd never been properly introduced. Whenever I call in I always get a live salesperson & they usually recognize me by voice. I've never felt so appreciated by any company I've done business with!

hangmansdaughter1 karma


coopkristen1 karma

That evangelism is so common amongst co-operative members, but relatively unheard of in any other sector! Kind of makes you feel all warm & fuzzy.

cu_ninja2 karma

How did the experience of orchestrating BTD change you personally?

coopkristen4 karma

I hardly recognize the person I was two years ago! I've found myself becoming more & more aware of how the simple choices I make can have a significant impact. Being in the public eye has made me appreciate every ounce of privacy I still have. Overall, I feel as if I've found my calling... to promote co-operation both as a business model & a way of life.

cu_ninja2 karma

Thanks! You're a hero to many of us in the CU movement because you made something happen when so many had tried and failed before. Keep up the awesome work that you're doing for not only CUs but coops across the world!

coopkristen2 karma

Thank you!

emilyalice442 karma

Do you own or have the rights to "Bank Transfer Day?" Who owns or has rights to "Move Your Money?" CUNA owns "Everyday is Bank Transfer Day," but those other pieces?

Relatedly, who maintains the Bank Transfer Day social media outlets (e.g. twitter, facebook)?

coopkristen5 karma

Although I originated the name "Bank Transfer Day" and "Every day is Bank Transfer Day," a credit union league filed for copyright of the latter phrase without my knowledge or permission. I asked that it be turned over to CUNA so that it might be used for a national level campaign, but that never happened. I've never filed for copyright because I wanted this movement to belong to every person who supported it. Attorneys have advised that should anyone else attempt to copyright, there's adequate proof of origination. There are a couple of volunteers help curate content. They've asked to remain nameless due to the threats I've received for my involvement. I remain personally active in the social media channels as well.

carbonpenguin2 karma

Glad to hear your decision to not go the IP route. Do you have plans to formalize any sort of organizational structure?

coopkristen3 karma

Not in the financial sector. I see access to data as a service Americans desperately need but co-operatives currently can't provide so I'm putting together a steering committee to start a national-level telecommunications co-operative. Anyone who's interested in joining the steering committee can send me a private message via Facebook.

carbonpenguin2 karma

I'm involved in an attempt to mutualize our fiber-based municipal telecom in my hometown. Are you talking about that sort of telecom, or is the aim more at the wireless market?

coopkristen2 karma

Sort of similar. There are a handful of region-based telecommunications co-ops, but I'd like to see one on the national level to compete with the "big guys." I really like the Phone Co-op's model, and they've been kind enough to offer guidance.

jvdleftcoast2 karma

Hi Kristen. As you know my company did a lot of quantitative & qualitative research on the impact of Bank Transfer Day. One conclusion reached by both research methods was that many people (even the unhappier ones) ultimately stay with a large bank because the mobile or other technology is simply more advanced there. In your work with credit unions or community banks, what do you advise them about meeting the needs of people-and especially younger people-who want the convenience of advanced digital 'banking' methods?

coopkristen3 karma

Technology is going to play a huge role in acquiring & keeping members. I recommend that credit unions take advantage of the services many of their great vendor companies offer to provide resources like shared branching, mobile banking, remote check deposit to members. With a completely branchless model, I think PSECU is a great example of the banking model of the future.

ala-akbar2 karma

You are more powerful than sarah kerrigan?

coopkristen2 karma

Quite possibly. If only there was a way to know for sure...

OldUncleDave2 karma

The Banksters are pissed off and their lobbyists are trying to get credit unions' not-for-profit tax status removed. Tell your state and federal legislators to protect local credit unions.

coopkristen2 karma

Doesn't it remind you just a bit of a toddler whose thrown themselves on the floor to kick & scream until they get their way?

Dirtpig2 karma

Why use a bank? They are all scum in the end. Use cash or bitcoin as much as possible.

coopkristen2 karma

A credit union isn't a bank, but rather a not-for-profit member-owned financial co-operative... so each is only as "scummy" as its members.

Dirtpig-1 karma

They still have employees to pay, CEO's still take huge salaries. They are just slightly different than a normal bank.

coopkristen1 karma

I'm confused. Are you advocating that people not be compensated for their time & labor? The difference between the salaries of CEOs at banks & credit unions is staggering! Check out this CUTimes article.

Dirtpig-1 karma

No. I am just stating that they are profit driven, just like regular banks. They have to be otherwise no one would use them because they have to make customers money. Also, you are acting trollish. I am automatically wrong for not agreeing with you? Fuck your 'Bank Transfer Day'. I'll be laughing all of the way to the bank!

coopkristen1 karma

I would never tell a person they were wrong for choosing to live in a way that makes them happy. Although there's no one right way of doing things, credit unions are the best option for 96 million Americans & counting.

Dirtpig1 karma

Wow. You sound like you are trying to do a commercial.

coopkristen1 karma

That's a great idea! We should do a commercial to reach even more people.

monkeysquirts2 karma

Quick! Say your name 5 times fast!

coopkristen2 karma

Okay, but only if you join a credit union. Bribery.

monkeysquirts2 karma

I'm 21 and have no clue what a credit union is! =D

coopkristen1 karma

Check out this awesome video explaining the differences between banks & credit unions: CLICK HERE

JasonLooseArrow2 karma

Thank you for starting this!

coopkristen2 karma

Thank you for supporting it! I certainly couldn't have reached so many people without the help of each & every supporter.

chuckdiesel862 karma

How mad are you that you parents named you Kristen Christian?

coopkristen1 karma

Oh, and it's more than a little satisfying to overhear a FOX reporter practice your name over & over. MUAHAHAHAHA.

coopkristen0 karma

Not at all. Besides being memorable, it's a great way to screen telemarketers... they can never pronounce it.

chuckdiesel861 karma

Haha, it is very unique! I like it :-)

coopkristen1 karma

Me too. :)

Kazmarov2 karma

I've followed you guys since your inception in 2011, and the progress made has been impressive.

When I was with Occupy San Jose in October and November, our main site was near several credit unions. Despite only being an idea for a month, they opened for extended hours on the 5th of November and one of them had bought a large custom sign to drape from the awning.

It's heartening.

coopkristen1 karma

That's really awesome! I don't suppose you have a photo of the sign. I'd love to see it.

Felshade1 karma

I have a friend who is thinking about switching from a Credit Union over to Chase because "they're more convenient" with regard to locations and teller hours. What can I do to sway her back to responsible banking?

coopkristen1 karma

It sounds to me like maybe she didn't choose a credit union that suits her needs. There's a credit union out there for every single person. I bet she'd be happy as a lark if she joins one with shared branching, online/mobile banking & remote check deposit. If she'd like help finding such a credit union, I'm always glad to point consumers in the right direction. Either of you is welcome to send me a private message on Facebook for personalized help.

zoidberg13391 karma

Your parents gave you a silly name. Either that or you married someone that made your name silly.

coopkristen2 karma

My folks have an odd sense of humor, but I've grown to love my silly name.

Average4TheCongo1 karma

2 years ago I saw your Bank transfer day Facebook page and it encouraged me to abandon my crumby BofA account and join a credit union. Huge thanks!

coopkristen1 karma

No, thank you! Without the support of so many folks, the Facebook event could never have turned into a full-blown movement. I'm so glad to hear you're still happy with your choice!

ElbowsBrandtjr1 karma

Would you rather put your money in 100 piggy bank sized credit unions, or one credit union sized piggy bank

coopkristen2 karma

I'd gladly help 100 credit unions invest in their communities... no matter how small the credit union might be. Now... how are we going to find employees small enough to fit inside?

abiz4shiz2 karma

What is this? A credit union for ants?...

coopkristen1 karma

Hey, even insects deserve equal access to affordable financial services! Haha.

gamingthemarket1 karma

Some argue that there is no escaping shadow banking. How much impact does moving retail account money into credit unions make on the shadow banking industry?

coopkristen1 karma

I can't give you a definitive answer, but I will say that I started the campaign with no expectations & a belief that every dollar can make a difference on the local level so I've already far surpassed my own desires for the results of BTD. Every little bit helps.

gamingthemarket1 karma

I used your organization in the advocacy section of my thesis, "Financial Speak: Unmasking the Criminal Discourse of Wall Street." Your work is a big part of the consciousness raising effort needed in finance. Thank you.

coopkristen1 karma

That's really awesome! How was it received?

FlapScrap1 karma

How do you feel about regional banks -- specifically (if you know of it) Umpqua bank in the Pacific NW?

coopkristen1 karma

While some smaller banks do invest in their communities in amazing ways, I'm still wary of for-profit banks for a couple of reasons. First, I want to have a say in how my financial institution is run. Unless I'm a shareholder at a bank, I have no say. Secondly, a corporate bank can buy out a community bank without customers even being informed. I believe wholeheartedly that co-operatives are the best option for consumers.

Zelgadis54381 karma

Why do you have two first names?

coopkristen1 karma

I guess my parents love me so much that they had to name me twice. :)

bipokharel1 karma

Do I still celebrate Bank Transfer Day if I dont pay any fees to bank? What day is Bank Transfer Day anyway?

coopkristen0 karma

It wasn't so much the fees themselves that set me into motion, but the principle behind them. To me, the policy was symptomatic of an overall problem within for-profit banking structures. Bank Transfer Day began as a Facebook event & quickly became the largest consumer migration in American history. You can learn more about it on Wikipedia or Facebook.

sambvka1 karma

That is awesome! We just had a very bad experience with Chase bank. Even though we have banked with them for years, they tried to make it impossible just to get my 13 year old daughter a teenage checking account. They were so incredibly rude that we have just started the process to transfer our money to a credit union. Keep up the good work!

coopkristen2 karma

I'm so sorry to hear that! Having my own checking account at a young age helped teach me fiscal responsibility. I hope your new credit union is making the process easier!

sambvka1 karma

Yes, So far Wings Financial is nicer and making our lives easier all the way around!

coopkristen2 karma

I'm glad to hear! Hope you're sharing the good news with your family, friends & neighbors. Personal recommendations were at the core of Bank Transfer Day's success.

davey571 karma

You don't honestly believe you've changed anything, right?

coopkristen1 karma

I don't believe that I singlehandedly changed anything. I believe that working together millions of Americans changed a few things. First, their transfers allowed credit unions to continue offering responsible loans with low interest rates to small business owners. Second, these loans combined with how many employees were hired by credit unions, Americans saw the unemployment rate drop. Finally, we illustrated that if a girl with a laptop and $10 can reach millions of Americans then campaign funding is no longer as vital to a candidate as it might have been in previous elections.

PhantomPhun1 karma

Did you change your name for the publicity value, or are your parents totally unaware?

coopkristen3 karma

If I was going to pick a "stage name," do you honestly think I'd choose this?

Egypticus1 karma

I hate to be the one to do this, but do people ever get confused by your very similar first and last names?

coopkristen2 karma

Constantly! I worked out a system when I was younger that usually alleviates confusion. When I don't feel like torturing someone with my tongue twister of a name I'll give it as, "K-R-I-S-T-E-N Christian, like the religion."

edvol441 karma

You are a wonderful person Kristen! When is the next bank transfer day?

coopkristen2 karma

Thank you! I like to think that everyone is wonderful in their own way. I feel so very blessed to have this experience, but due to the violence perpetuated by groups that supported the first deadline goal, I won't be coordinating another event like the first Bank Transfer Day. I do plan to continue commemorating the original date both publicly & personally. Last year I spent November 5th speaking for Credit Union Legislative Action Committee before returning to the privacy of my hotel room to read letters & posts from supporters. It really is so touching how so many of you take the time to reach out & encourage me along the way. Something like this is too much for one person to take on alone. I really couldn't have done it without each & every single person who lent their time & talent.

hinesbrad1 karma

I think Credit Unions generally offer better service and value for your money than For-Profit institutions. However, the lower fees do lead to lower fringe benefits than other institutions offer. For instance, some Credit Card companies now offer rewards cards that make deposits into Roth IRA Brokerage accounts, and debit cards with round-up options on the debit side that make managing accounts easier. I also see Credit Unions have less of a 'Thirsty' culture. They aren't as likely to suggest things that will benefit you in the long run. I just don't see the effort at cultivating relationships most people need over time. However, if you are looking for an institution that is a solid financial move and aren't concerned with thrills the benefits of a Credit Union vastly outweigh their drawbacks.

coopkristen3 karma

In all fairness, there are some innovative credit unions out there that offer all of the same fringe benefits a bank does... and more. The credit union I'm a member of is quite small, but definitely packs a punch.

The_Lolbrary1 karma

I've currently worked for a CU for 3 years and I would just like to say thank you for your hard work. Honestly, I feel like my job is too easy sometimes because comparative to other financial institutions we cannot be beat.

coopkristen1 karma

Thanks for stopping by! It's my pleasure to lend my voice to the co-operative movement. Across all sectors, you're investing in your communities in truly incredible ways.

jeffbailey1 karma

I wish that there were better options for those of us who do actually need a multinational option. I'm not thrilled about being with HSBC, but I have a mortgage and tenants in one country and I live and work in another.

They treat me well, but HSBC is a scuzzy company.

coopkristen1 karma

There are a few credit unions with fantastic international options. Even my smaller credit union meets my needs when I'm abroad. Many of my clients are abroad as well. If you want something badly enough, you find a way to make it work.

Intotheopen1 karma

I work for a big bank and keep some of my personal finances at well regarded CU. Mostly because it is close to home.

Frankly, on a day to day level they are functionally identical.

coopkristen1 karma

Credit unions offer most of the same services corporate banks offer, but there are some important fundamental differences. Credit unions are owned by members; banks are owned by shareholders. Credit union profits are given to members or put to use in the community; bank profits are given to shareholders. Credit union members are owners & have a vote on how the credit union operates; shareholders vote on how the bank operates.

Intotheopen1 karma

I know the difference. Just saying, on a day to day it's largely identical.

coopkristen1 karma

In the services offered, but not necessarily how each business is operated.

timothy531 karma

coopkristen1 karma

They really, really are. How long have you been a member?



coopkristen1 karma

In July 2012 American Banker reported that 5.6 million Americans had changed the way they banked since Bank Transfer Day. I haven't been able to find impartial statistics for how many people have in the year since so your guess would be as good as mine.

EDIT: I should've specified that the 5.6 million was for less than a year. The typical annual average is something like 50,000.


Of those, only about 610,000 cited Bank Transfer Day as a reason.

people change banks, all the time. sometimes they move to another bank, that you would still disapprove of. sometimes they open multiple accounts at the same bank, or amongst other banks you disapprove of.

While the transfer numbers are larger than normal, about three times the transfer volume of a similar period the previous year, Bank Transfer Day was generally considered unsuccessful ("success" being measured by people actually transferring banks).

coopkristen2 karma

If you're able to reach more people with $10 and a laptop, by all means please do.


If its any consolation, I use a Credit Union(Amplify).

coopkristen1 karma

I've heard a lot of positive things about Amplify.

coopkristen1 karma

I thought to point out that when supporters asked me what they should say when they closed accounts, I told them it was an opportunity to tell the banks exactly what they'd done to lose the person's business. I thought the feedback might help banks change the way they do business.

Demojen1 karma

I have huge commitments with a bank which include a mortgage for over a hundred thousand dollars. Can a credit union take on that kind of debt or is it just where you deposit money to get around banking service charges?

coopkristen1 karma

Credit unions offer all of the same services that traditional banks offer. The main differences the average consumer would notice is reduced interest on loans, higher interest on checking/savings, profits from your banking business are put to work in your community and as a member-owner you have a vote in how the institution does business. On the back end that a consumer may not notice, CEOs are typically paid far less and front line staff are paid more than for-profit counterparts. If you have huge account balances or business loans, it could be tricky, but I can put you in touch with your state's league & ask them to help you find a credit union to suit your needs. Just let me know.

yellowbroccoli1 karma


coopkristen2 karma

Speak to your credit union about their energy usage. Start with the branch manager. If he/she doesn't listen, go up the chain of command until someone does. On the off chance no one listens, take it to the next board meeting. You're part owner of your credit union. Speak up.

carbonpenguin1 karma

When you first created the Facebook event, the location of the event was listed as "Occupy Wall Street." How important do you think the Occupy movement (which was peaking in October/November 2011) was to the success of Bank Transfer Day?

coopkristen3 karma

It's a common misconception that the Facebook event page had listed the location as "Occupy Wall Street." The best answer I can think of is that there were several factions of OWS that created secondary event pages that people may have seen. While I appreciated the support that was received from various groups across the political spectrum, I wish that leaders of groups like OWS hadn't chosen to cause disruption & break laws in the name of Bank Transfer Day.

Revere121 karma

Do you have a financial background?

If you had a $100,000 in cash and your house was paid for, how would you invest that money?

coopkristen2 karma

I don't have a background in finance. It seems to me that the three most important services for the next several decades will be food, finance & data access. We're blessed to have great credit unions & food co-operatives, but lack a national-level mobile phone co-operative. I would use the $100,000 to fund such an endeavor.

Intotheopen1 karma

I don't think you have much of a concept of how little a dent 100k would make on a project like that...

coopkristen2 karma

I don't think you realize how far I'm capable of stretching a dollar. The entire Bank Transfer Day campaign was run on $10. :)

TheOpinionLine1 karma

Hi Kristen,

Do you think that the "Big" banks are starting to get the message, that the power lies with the people, or are they still on a path that is not good for most Americans long term?

TRANSLATION: Do they really not give a crap about the average Joe and Jane 6-pack working hard for a living and still scraping by?


coopkristen1 karma

I think "big banks" have heard the message, but I don't think they're ready to admit that their business practices led to the largest consumer shift in American history. Instead of improving the business model, bankers are pressuring Senate to eliminate the tax exemption status of credit unions.

davidleewhite0 karma

Too hard to get a checking account at a credit Union, Yet I managed to get one at BOA. ..just sayin

(credit score is high 500's)

coopkristen2 karma

When I joined a credit union, I applied online & followed up with an email containing a scanned copy of my passport & a bill with my address for proof of identity & residence. The process took no more than 30 minutes total. It was MUCH more complicated when I signed up for my account with BofA years ago.

mac-dreidel1 karma

Try a local bank or an online institution. I am sure if you actually went in and talked to the CU or local bank they would set you up with an account if you had money in hand.

coopkristen2 karma

A lot of credit unions even allow potential members to apply online.

debbiedinky0 karma

Credit union banking is the best. We switched our personal and several business accounts two years ago. The folks at the credit union are always friendly, and have been very good about taking care of us.

coopkristen2 karma

That's awesome! What's your favorite part of being a member?

BuffaloChickenEnema0 karma

Why did your parents pick a first name so similar to your last?

coopkristen2 karma

When I was adopted at a young age, my birth name had been "Cristin." My folks decided that the best option would be to change the spelling of my first name to minimize confusion & allow me to keep a part of where I'd come from. Nearly 30 years later, I think they made the right choice. I've come to really love my strange little name.

BuffaloChickenEnema1 karma

I am very pleased with your response as most people would ignore such a question but I don't know anything about banking and I was curious. Enjoy your weekend!

coopkristen1 karma

If someone takes the time to ask a question, surely I can take time to respond. Have a great weekend too!