NORTH BAY -- Community financial institutions throughout the country experienced an influx of new customers through October and early November, as many fled the big banks that had proposed monthly debit card fees and took part in the grassroots event known as “Bank Transfer Day” on Nov. 5.
More than 650,000 people joined credit unions nationally in the month leading to Bank Transfer Day, with the largest increase-- 90,000--seen in California, according to the Credit Union National Association. In California, the move represented $624 million in new deposits.
North Bay-based financial institutions -- banks and credit unions alike -- also followed the trend, experiencing an increase in new accounts and questions about the impact of banking locally.
Not all institutions surveyed had firm numbers available, though many experienced an anecdotal increase. Bank of Marin saw accounts moving over from the national banks on Nov. 4 and 5. Bank of Napa and Summit State Bank have experienced higher customer growth throughout the year. Exchange Bank signed up a fairly usual 50 new customers on Saturday, though conversations about moving accounts over from national banks have increased and are ongoing.
Many North Bay institutions said that they continue to experience an above-average increase in new customers. Here is some of the data available from those who have had recent increases:Travis Credit Union, based in Vacaville, from 215 new members per week average to 303 in October; 408 joined in the week ending Nov. 5.Mendo Lake Credit Union, based in Ukiah, 35 new accounts on Nov. 5 (not open on Saturday), an approximately 50 percent increase from the typical 10-15 new members in a day.Redwood Credit Union, based in Santa Rosa, more than 600 new members joined on Nov. 4 and 5--six times the average amount. Community First Credit Union, based in Santa Rosa, 196 new members joined between Nov. 1 and 8. The monthly record, in October of this year, was 219.Circle Bank, based in Novato, 250 new customers joined the bank from Nov. 1--8, approximately 90 percent more than the average number of new customers that have joined per month this year.