Now, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reports that a whopping 650,000 Americans have joined credit unions since Sept. 29 — the date that Bank of America announced it would start charging a $5 monthly debit fee, a move it backed down on this week.
To put that in perspective, there were only 600,000 new members for credit unions in all of 2010. “These results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions where, on average, they will save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, lower rates on loans and higher return on savings,” said CUNA President Bill Cheney.
Got to wonder if Bank of America saw this coming when they decided to drop their new fees. If so, goes to show that the quickest way to corporate America's heart is through its wallet.
As I've written before, no corporate board ever sits down to ask: "what is the worst possible thing we can do today?"
What they do ask is: "how can we increse shareholder value?"
But the problem starts there, because that the primary, and fiduciary, responsibility corporate boards and management is to answer that question above all others.
With that in mind, the entire corporate structure leads to maximizing shareholder value:
1. By any means within the law
2. By illegal means, as long as the increase in shareholder value outweighs the costs of legal fees and penalties
3. By changing the law though lobbying efforts
The way board and management are legally set up, they have to do this, no matter what damage they do in wrecked lives, or else they will be subject to shareholder revolt and out of their jobs.
(One possible exception: Class B corporations, which can legally bind themselves to social justice standards (and make money at the same time)
But, when public opinion turns against a corporation, shareholders can lose value. Boards and management take this very seriously. Evidence: the massive amount spent on PR; they wouldn't part with the cash unless the felt they had to.
Negative PR seem to be hurting them now. If it gets bad enough, they will be forced to make changes in order to preserve their images. At first the changes will be cosmetic, but with enough pressure, boards and management will change policies before the shareholders fire them.
Keep up the pressure.