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News Now

CU System
Harvard students pull BofA accounts move to CU
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (11/22/11)--A group of Harvard University students Saturday closed their financial accounts with Bank of America Corp. (BofA) and then opened new ones at Harvard University Employees CU (HUECU) in Cambridge, Mass.

"We were contacted by a group of students from Harvard Divinity School who decided that, in the spirit of Bank Transfer Day, they wanted to divest from Bank of America," Tom Montilli, the credit union's vice president of marketing, told News Now. "They organized a small group of about 12 students and told us the credit union was one of two community institutions it chose [to which they wanted to transfer their funds].

"The students asked to meet with HUECU Saturday morning and talk to us about credit unions," Montilli added. "Afterwards, they went over as a group to BofA to close their accounts, and then came to the credit union to open new ones."

The Harvard students had asked the credit union to stay open until 3 p.m. Saturday to accommodate their account transfers.

The students also sent an open letter to BofA's Cambridge branch to explain their divestment decision and rationale behind it.

"Your company, which controls over two trillion dollars in assets, was deemed too big to fail by the U.S. government, and we agree with this sentiment," the letter reads. "You are too big to fail. Too many people rely on you to exist so that they don't lose their mortgages, their life savings, and their livelihood. For this reason, the American taxpayers supplied your company with billions in government bailout money.

"We expected change for the better," the letter continues. "What we got was business as usual. That year your company yielded billions in profits, and your CEOs pocketed millions of dollars in bonuses. You foreclosed on more mortgages than any other American bank, and did not pay taxes despite a $10 billion profit."

To read the letter, use the link.

Although there is no way HUECU can determine what account openings  occurred directly from the  "divestment day" activities, the credit union has seen the number of checking  accounts opened during the past month grow to three times the amount opened in the same period last year, Montilli said.


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