Hundreds March Downtown For Bank Transfer Day
L.A. Now reported Saturday that the march brought together inhabitants of the Occupy L.A. camp, labor unions and community organizations. The masses started their demonstration at California Plaza around noon.
Things turned tense when Mario Brito, an organizer with Occupy L.A., took to the microphone and was interrupted by a counter-protester who grabbed the microphone and yelled, "Mario, are you still a member of the Communist Party?"
Pushing and shouting ensued as the man filmed the whole thing with an iPhone.
After a few minutes, things cooled and the march began.
As the crowd traveled north up Grand Avenue, they chanted slogans such as, "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."
Vivian Sepulveda, 27, who works for Good Jobs L.A., the coalition that organized the event, was one of them. She said she pulled her money out of Bank of America because she feels the bank contributed to the foreclosure crisis by not helping struggling homeowners in her South L.A. neighborhood with loan modifications.
"If you walk around South Central, there's a lot of empty houses, a lot of houses boarded up," she said.
Walking out of Bank of America with 10 others who had also withdrawn their money felt good, she said.
"It was really exciting and liberating knowing that I had no business with them anymore."
Similar marches have been planned in cities across the country. ABC News reported at least 650,000 people had already switched to credit unions since Sept. 29, according to the Credit Union National Association.
Group leaders have made an effort to distinguish Bank Transfer Day from the Occupy movement, though their causes share core tenets.
"The principle behind monthly debit card fees weren't something I could support as a conscious consumer," said Kristen Christian, Bank Transfer Day's sole organizer. "Investigating my options, credit unions were clearly the most logical choice. I decided ... that I had to take further action to educate the American people in how credit unions serve local communities."
The credit union association said it estimated its branches had added roughly $45 billion in new savings accounts since the exodus from major banks began.
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