While Bank of America and other major banks have now scrapped a widely-derided plan to charge customers a monthly fee for using their debit cards, a new survey shows at least 650,000 people closed their accounts with those banks in the past month and fled to more consumer-friendly credit unions.

According to the Credit Union National Association, more than 80 percent of its 5,000 member institutions saw their customer numbers jump following Bank of America’s announcement in September, adding $4.5 billion in new savings accounts.

What’s more, the survey also revealed that more than four in every five credit unions experiencing such member growth attributed it to consumer reaction to the newly-proposed fees, and that the social media-driven movement dubbed “Bank Transfer Day” on November 5 influenced some customers as well.

“These results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions,” said CUNA President Bill Cheney. “On average, they will [now] save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, [and get] lower rates on loans and higher return on savings.”

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