‘Wells Fargo has a history of aggressively and sometimes illegally squeezing its customers to boost its profits…’
Citing a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report, an agency Warren helped create—and later directed—during the Obama administration, the 2020 presidential hopeful said Friday that the bank “charge[d] struggling college students exorbitant fees.”
According to the report, Wells Fargo charged students the highest fees among the 573 financial institutions examined—and almost 30 percentage more than the second most-expensive bank.
The headline-grabbing complaint dovetails two of Warren’s most salient agenda items: anti-capitalism and connecting with college-aged activists—something the 69-year-old has failed to do.
But for all of the former Harvard law professor’s financial war cries, the actual alleged abuse appears negligible.
The CFPB report states that Wells Fargo charged students only $46.99 per year, or $3.92 per month in total, for bank accounts, credit cards and other services.
In light of such relatively small sums, Warren’s claim of “exorbitant” abuses may have more to do with reminding the public of the banking sector’s failures during the 2008 financial crisis, a time when Warren ascended to national prominence by scolding banks. Wells Fargo was a leading bank in the Great Recession.
“Wells Fargo has a history of aggressively and sometimes illegally squeezing its customers to boost its profits, and this report illustrates that the bank is deploying similar tactics on America’s college campuses to target vulnerable students,” Warren said in a statement.
She also pandered to another target demographic in arguably a back-handed way.
“Low-income students are more prone to overdraft on their accounts and to suffer from your bank’s excessive overdraft fees,” she said of poor students, who are often minorities.
Warren did not address any colleges in her Friday media blitz for allowing Wells Fargo and other banks to conduct business on college campus