Elizabeth Warren Visits Zume's Coffee House
The Democratic candidate in the Massachusetts Senate race talked with residents about the country's financial institutions and her efforts to make banking clearer for consumers.
For about 45 minutes Wednesday morning, Zume’s Coffee House changed from a quiet cafe full of people typing on their laptops into a scheduled stop on Elizabeth Warren’s campaign trail. About 20 people, including local reporters and several of her staff members, attended the event.
The Democratic candidate in the Massachusetts Senate race shook everyone’s hand and then sat to listen to stories from people who have struggled to understand their credit card contracts and scores and teach their teenagers to not spend more than what’s in their checking accounts.
A man complained about discrepancies in online banking and the information he receives in the mail. Another said he felt like the banks had him on a string. Then a woman asked if anyone could understand the language spoken by credit card companies and banks.
“Has anybody thought of mandating that that language be simplified?” she said.
Warren took the opportunity to discuss how the federal government’s new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she helped create, was working on making it easier for Americans to better understand fees and lending.
As proof, she passed out a one-page form on overdraft protections that the agency recently published as a template that banks could use. She said the front and back page says, “Here’s what it is. Do you want it? Here’s what it’s going to cost you.”
The agency is writing something similar for mortgage, credit card and student loan contracts, she said.
Warren said she also aims to eliminate some practices she considers exploitative, like when banks deduct from checking accounts the largest transactions first, sometimes leaving people with multiple overdraft fees.
“There’s nothing you can do as a customer,” she said. “You can’t see it.”