WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — More than 50 people gathered in downtown Walnut Creek Saturday morning to protest and encourage people to remove their money from various corporate banks.

The protest is part of a national day of action, “Bank Transfer Day,” which encourages consumers to seek banking options cheaper than those offered by large banks such as Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

“I am fed up with the growing inequality in our country and how big money is running our government,” protest organizer Sheilah Fish, of Moraga, said. “I don’t think we have a true democracy like we had 40 years ago.”

Protesters gathered beginning at 10 a.m. in front of the Chase bank at Newell Avenue and South Main Street, and some held signs that read “R.I.P. Middle Class” and “This is a crime scene.”

Many wore black armbands signifying the death of the middle class.

“It means people are fed up,” Carol Christopher, of Pleasant Hill, said. “There’s a lot of power in people gathering together, like (in opposition of) the debit card fees, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

The viral movement developed in response to announcements by Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo that each bank had either instituted pilot programs charging debit card users a fee or had announced plans to charge such a fee.

In recent weeks, all three major banks withdrew those plans after public backlash over the proposed fees, but not before some damage had been done.

Christopher said she pulled her money out of her Chase bank account prior to Saturday’s protests.

The group in Walnut Creek handed out flyers with information on how, why and where people can move their money. “Bank Transfer Day” encourages participants to move their money from corporate banks to credit unions.


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