New Ideas for a Brave New World
Kristen Christian (photo left) gave an emotional and moving Keynote address at the New Ideas Conference yesterday. At times teary eyed, she recounted the story that has brought her to her current fame.
Kristen tolerated her relationship with one of the “big banks” for 15 years. While she was not thrilled with her relationship, she was not unhappy enough to move her account. However, her discontent became disgust when her account was assessed a monthly fee, along with millions of other bank customers. She began to research alternatives, and found credit unions on the internet. She told the crowd that she felt like she had discovered one of the world’s best kept secrets: a financial institution with a conscience that actually benefits the community it serves. She wanted to share her discovery with her friends.
Kristen started by inviting about 500 of her Facebook friends to join an event she created called “Bank Transfer Day”. Within three days, the number of people who had joined the event was up to 10,000. She had created a phenomenon: the first American movement organized entirely via social media.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has said their association's web site aimed at informing customers about credit union services has seen traffic double since Kristen first created her “Bank Transfer Day” event. CUNA members reported an increase in account openings, and on November 5, 2011 alone, approximately 40,000 people joined credit unions, with credit unions realizing $80 million in new account funds.
Since last November, Kristen has been included in MORE Magazine's "The Fierce List", named one of the top ten inspirational women of 2011 by NBC's iVillage.com, in addition to having the honor to speak at Commonwealth Club of California and the General Session of the Governmental Affairs Conference.
For our New Ideas Conference, Kristen shared stories she has heard in her travels and at her various speaking engagements about how credit unions have been willing to help consumers when banks would not. She emphasizes a mentorship mentality in order for credit unions to pass the foundations of credit unions to the next generation. Change doesn’t always come as a tidal wave, sometimes it is through little ripples. It is through our philosophy of “people helping people” that makes every day “Bank Transfer Day”.
Kristen Christian was the founder of Bank Transfer Day, a consumer initiative that called for a voluntary switch from commercial banks to not-for-profit credit unions by November 5, 2011
As of October 9, 2012, a Facebook page devoted to the effort has drawn more than 57,000 “likes”.
(Photo left: CUAD President/CEO Robbie Thompson with Kristen Christian at New Ideas Conference, photo right: Kristen catches a ride to the airport in the CU on the Road Vehicle.)