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ConsumerWatch: Should You Switch On National Bank Transfer Day?

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - Activists have marked Saturday, November 5th as Bank Transfer Day. With more than 40 dedicated Facebook pages, thousands of YouTube videos, and a top trending topic on Twitter, Bank Transfer Day seems to have everyone talking.

For some, it's about principal and others it's about the big fees, but no matter the reason, activists and consumers alike are putting their money where their mouths are and making the switch to smaller banks and credit unions.

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos, said for him, it's personal.

"I switched my money a long time ago from Bank of America to San Francisco Federal Credit Union," he said.

In light of the growing bank transfer movement, Avalos said he'd like to see the city of San Francisco transfer its money out of big banks as well.

"It's something I'm working on…because I don't see these banks doing enough, especially at the macro level," he said.

However, Rod Brown, the president and CEO of the California Bankers Association disagrees.

"For the councilman to say that the credit unions are better corporate citizens than traditional banks is just unimaginable," Brown said.

As he pointed out, in addition to philanthropy, banks pay taxes that credit unions don't, creating a loss of 8 billion dollars over the next five years.

The banking industry, according to brown, believes the masses are misinformed and urges consumers to ask themselves a question before deciding to take the leap to a smaller credit union.

"Are your needs as a consumer in your household really better met? And if they're not, stay where you are or at least shop around," Brown said.

Consumer rating service, allows for people to shop around for the best banking option as well as a slew of other services like auto repair or dentistry.

Robert Krughoff, president of Checkbook, said that thousands of customers were surveyed about the service they receive at various banks.

The non-profit found that the big banks weren't all bad, with some getting a superior rating by more than 70% of their customers; however, none of them ranked among the top of the Bay Area banks.

"Checkbook found the small independent banks rated much higher than the big banks," he said.

Through special arrangement with Checkbook, CBS5 viewers can access Checkbook's ratings of customer service at Bay Area banks without a subscription until Friday, November 18, 2011, and can view Checkbook's banks article indefinitely via this link:

The latest of issue of Checkbook highlights furniture stores, pest control, bank customer service, hardware stores, dentists and auto repair. To subscribe and get more information, click here.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS SF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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