Bank Protesters Also Oppose Walker

More than 100 people rallied outside a Chase Bank branch downtown, protesting what they called corporate greed, while also supporting the recall of Gov. Scott Walker.

The rally, part of a nationwide effort called Bank Transfer Day, aimed to get people to move their money from large financial institutions to community credit unions. It’s an effort to hurt wealthy individuals and institutions that protesters said aren’t sharing the burden of economic hardship.

“Our economy is a mess,” Madison schoolteacher Carla Nordness said at the event. “I’m 48 years old and I was thinking my life was going to start getting easier. Now, I’m starting to worry about how I’m going to pay my bills.”

Nordness and other participants called themselves “the 99 percent,” in solidarity with Occupy protests happening around the country. Protesters in Oakland, Calif., this week shut down a shipping port during some of the largest organized rallies this year.

Madison’s Bank Transfer Day event was much smaller, likely because the focus of protesters here is more political, Capital Times columnist John Nichols said.

“Movements often look for the ways they can have the most impact,” Nichols said. “In Wisconsin, their focus is elsewhere. At this point, so much of their energy is focused on recalling Scott Walker.”

He said many people who might be rallying are instead getting ready for a recall effort against Walker. Democrats have said they will start gathering petition signatures Nov. 15, although a Walker supporter officially started the process Friday in what Democrats called a “ploy.”

Many people at the Bank Transfer Day rally wore “Recall Walker” buttons and T-shirts, merging the two movements. One of them was Dan Nevers of Madison.

“The banks needs to hear the message. Scott Walker definitely needs to hear the message,” he said. “Bankers are the people that have the money right now, and the only way to make them pay attention is to move our money (into local institutions).”