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Javelin says 5.6M people switched from banks
SAN FRANCISCO (2/2/12)--New research highlighting the impact of Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy Movement on the financial services industry estimates that 5.6 million U.S. adults with a banking relationship switched their providers in the past 90 days.

That's nearly three times more than people who moved funds from large banks for similar reasons the previous 90 days, said Javelin Strategy and Research.

It is "the first time we have market research data to measure the impact on the financial services industry," said James Van Dyke, founder of the San Francisco-based Javelin in a blog on the company's website last week.

Of the 5.6 million who switched, 610,000 U.S. adults or 11% cited Bank Transfer Day as the reason they moved their accounts from large institutions to smaller institutions, such as credit unions and community banks, said Van Dyke.

He noted that a Google search of  "bank transfer day" yielded 22 million responses. The company is not surprised at the results.

Javelin's nine years of customer-transaction research indicates that people are highly resistant to moving their money, Van Dyke said. For example, Huffington Post's 2008  "failed to barely register in previous Javelin surveys. Yet this time, Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy Movement did have a measurable impact," he added.

Of the 11% of actual bank switchers who cited BTD, 26% said they switched because the bank charged too many fees during the 90 day measurement period.

The blog also noted that individuals who state dissatisfaction with their banks have reasons that range from customer service to rates and fees.  Some individuals switch banks because they are relocating their primary residence, which points to the essential importance of a local branch or ATM. "The transition to electronic money inches steadily forward, but the evolution is far from complete."

"Javelin urges banks and credit unions alike to increasingly focus on sustainable mutual-prosperity for both provider and customer," he said, noting that technology can increasingly help make a shared-value approach possible.

The findings are from an online survey of 5,878 consumers filed in December.
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