Open Phones: Did You Mark Guy Fawkes Day or "Bank Transfer Day?"

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Guy Fawkes mask, logo for Anonymous and seen at protests around the world. (From Anroir on Flickr/flickr)

This weekend, while some protesters marked Guy Fawkes Day, others participated in "Bank Transfer Day" by switching from commercial banks to not-for-profit credit unions. Call in and tell us how you spent the fifth of November.

Comments [30]

Matt from Greenpoint

There is an effigy burning holiday in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Nov. 16 2011 01:32 PM
Brad Kerr from Brooklyn

@Stephen: Good question. Credit unions are insured through the National Credit Union Association. The NCUA is a federal government agency like the FDIC - except, you know, for credit unions.

Nov. 08 2011 09:13 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Josh: Many credit unions are open to people who live or work in the neighborhood where they're located.

Nov. 08 2011 01:41 AM
Elise from NYC

Hey Chris-

Not sure how to share articles with you on this site, but try and check out "Banking on Disrepair: Hazardous Conditions in Buildings Mortgaged by New York Community Bank."

Nov. 07 2011 02:33 PM
Chris from Greenpoint

Dear Elise and ceaweaver,

Thank you for the information about NYCB...I'll close my account!

Do you have any further studies or reports showing their predatory practices?

Best wishes,

Nov. 07 2011 01:09 PM

The Truth about NYCB:

Nov. 07 2011 12:38 PM
Jo Foster from Jackson Heights

I recently moved from London to NY. I have an account in the UK with the Cooperative Bank, which has an ethical approach to where it puts your money. Here I have an account with Bank of America (not my decision) and have to keep a minimum balance. I don't have a credit record, only a debit card, so AT&T are demanding $500 deposit for a year (no interest) before I can have a mobile phone contract. I would like to find an ethical bank, such as Triodos. Where is the list of credit unions etc.?
As for "bonfire night", in London there used to be big municipal bonfires alongside public firework displays. Less bonfires now because of "health and safety", and less fireworks because of local authority cuts.
There's a UK ex-pat group called "Big Apple Brits" but it doesn't appeal to me: I don't call myself a Brit and I don't use the term Big Apple. They seem to be young partygoers and have concerts featuring artistes unfamiliar to me. I wonder if there's a group for the kind of people who like Radio 4!

Nov. 07 2011 11:48 AM
Elise Goldin from New York City

Chris from Greenpoint and everyone else figuring out which banks to transfer to:

New York Community Bank, as much as it claims, is NOT a Community Bank. NYCB is a leader among banks in making astronomical, unsupportable loans on distressed buildings, leading to foreclosure and worsening of conditions for low-income tenants.

I am working as a tenant organizer who has been involved in a long campaign against NYCB and its role in predatory equity, which destroys affordable housing in the city and creates unlivable conditions for tenants.

I want to stress how important it is to not just automatically assume that smaller banks = more responsible.

For more information, visit our blog at

Nov. 07 2011 11:43 AM
Julian Oliver from Teaneck.NJ

To have access to a credit union you do not need to be member of an union or professional association.



Nov. 07 2011 11:27 AM
Edward from NJ

Those corporations get you coming and going...


Nov. 07 2011 11:24 AM
Chris from Grenpoint

Anyone know if New York Community Bank is really a "community bank" or are they a large for-profit entity? (I assume the latter but am not sure!)

Nov. 07 2011 11:24 AM
melanie belman-gross from Branford, CT

Not just in the Uk but in the Commonwealth as well. I grew up in South Africa and it was huge - so far removed from the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in England.
Our focus in South Africa was the fireworks all over the city - each family with their own displays.
We knew that Guy Fawkes was the bad guy but it has nothing to do with any historical connection.
In fact, in the context of the dark days of Apartheid which was when I grew up, Guy Fawkes Day observations seem even more
removed from what our realities were.

Nov. 07 2011 11:23 AM

How come credit unions require you to be a part of some union or organization? I'd love to join a credit union but have no access to one since I'm not a "member" of anything. Are there big credit unions out there that don't require you to be a member of anything. And how about the Federal Government create a national credit union for all citizens of the united states and provide small business loans without the middle man commercial banks?

Nov. 07 2011 11:22 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

And there is always INGdirect

Nov. 07 2011 11:21 AM
Bruce from Jackson Heights

Here is a link to an article in the NY Times about locating credit unions and communbity banks.

Various Web-based tools can help you research community banks and credit unions.

Nov. 07 2011 11:21 AM
Stephen from prospect heights

Are Credit Unions FDIC Insured? Are there any disadvantages of CUs?

Nov. 07 2011 11:20 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Can we get a list of Credit Unions in the City?

Nov. 07 2011 11:19 AM
John A. from Adulthood

I've learned to disrespect the Guy.F image largely from seeing it all the time on YouTube. It usually signals a 14-year old, with a 14-year-old's wisdom, having something not too interesting to say, usually not through his own voice even, but using a speech synthesizer. I've seen "V". still.

Nov. 07 2011 11:18 AM
Ben from NYC

Brian you really can't make the connection between OWS and Guy Fawkes day without considering Alan Moore's graphic novel on which the film V FOR VENDETTA was based. It's an extraordinary book, very different from the movie as usual, and this is the reason why the Guy Fawkes mask now has a newly politicized meaning.

Nov. 07 2011 11:18 AM
laura from Manhattan

Isn't the Tea Party another movement that was named after a terrorist action?

Nov. 07 2011 11:17 AM
Sam from astoria

hope you end this segment with John Lennon's "Remember," which quotes the rhyme Brian read at the top of the hour! Great song from Plastic Ono Band.

Nov. 07 2011 11:15 AM
Donna from Montclair

In New Jersey, payments for unemployment are now put on Bank of America debit cards. You cannot pay for anything with a debit card except groceries. Last month when my mortgage was due I spent an entire day trying to get the cash balance from B of A. This included 3 hours on the phone to customer service and a trip to four B of A branches. All to no avail, their systems were "down". The result was my mortgage payment was late and I was penalized. I'm infuriated that the state government is pairing with a private bank and oh yes there is a fee to use that debit card! I would never bank with B of A.

I did bank with Wachovia for 10 years and loved them. When Wells Fargo took over I was hit with fees, moving balances and an online bill pay nightmare. I switched to TD Bank. At least I can be assured that Canadians have regulations and alas no fees. It seemed daunting at the time, but it took me less than an hour and I'm very happy again.

Nov. 07 2011 11:14 AM
Ben from NYC

Didn't Anonymous/OWS adopt this mask because of Alan Moore's _V for Vendetta_, one of the great graphic novels of all time? I don't think the connection between Guy Fawkes and OWS would have been made without Moore's creative vision.

Nov. 07 2011 11:11 AM
Edward from NJ

Guy Fawkes day has nothing to do with banks.

You really need to bring the graphic novel / film "V for Vendetta" into the conversation to understand the Guy Fawkes imagery in the Anonymous and OWS movements.

Nov. 07 2011 11:10 AM

The event is usually called Bonfire Night in England

Nov. 07 2011 11:09 AM
Amanda from brooklyn

Ex-pats would LOVE to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day but here in America you're not granted responsibility for your own well-being so there are no fireworks on sale.

Nov. 07 2011 11:09 AM

If anyone can recommend a good small bank/credit union in the Carroll Gardens/Boerum Hill area, we'd LOVE to move both our personal and business accounts from Citibank. We just need a local place that doesn't charge for every little thing.

Nov. 07 2011 11:09 AM
Jon from Manhattan

Notwithstanding the historical facts of Guy Fawkes and his involvement with overthrowing the British government in 1605, the "celebration" of Guy Fawkes Night quickly became a demonstration of the strong English anti-Catholic sentiment that lasts until today. I'm curious why the Occupy Wall Streeters want to embrace a celebration whose roots are so deeply associated with anti-Catholicism. As a liberal I understand the sentiments that reject western main-stream religion however, this affection for Guy Fawkes that the protesters appeared to have clutched just seems arch or just plain wacky.

Nov. 07 2011 10:29 AM
Joan from UWS

On transfer day, I seriously considered transferring my checking account from a big bank to a credit union, but couldn't find any secular credit unions in the UWS. Any ideas or recommendations?

Nov. 07 2011 10:10 AM
Kate from New York

I always celebrate Guy Fawkes Day as it's our wedding anniversary. This year -- our 23rd anniversary -- we celebrated by going to the Met to see the new Islamic art wing, took a walk in Riverside Park, and ended the day with dinner at home and a very good bottle of Barolo. Here's to 23 more Guy Fawkes Days!

Nov. 07 2011 10:10 AM

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