Boston Herald

Docs show Warren does business with big banks she blasts

- By CHRIS CASSIDY — chris.cassidy@bostonhera­

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds up to $200,000 in accounts at a bank once targeted by the very watchdog agency she’s responsibl­e for creating — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, government records show.

Warren, who’s built a political career on vowing to stand up to the big banks, also keeps a huge chunk of her personal wealth in those financial giants, according to her mostrecent Senate disclosure­s.

Warren holds between $100,00 and $200,000 in Synchrony Bank, which was ordered to pay $225 million in consumer relief by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2014.

The consumer bureau — which Warren helped establish in 2010 and was nearly tapped to head by the Obama administra­tion — found that Synchrony, then known as GE Capital Bank, deceptivel­y marketed products and discrimina­ted against Spanishspe­aking customers, according to an agency release in 2014.

Bank telemarket­ers told customers that certain debt cancellati­on products attached to their credit cards would be free when they weren’t and sold them to other customers who weren’t even eligible, the bureau charged. It also found GE Capital didn’t offer certain promotions to customers whose primary language was Spanish or who lived in Puerto Rico.

The practices harmed 750,000 consumers, the consumer bureau said in June 2014.

But Warren — who blasted GE for benefittin­g from tax breaks at the expense of consumer debtors during the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign — has banked at Synchrony (and when it was known as GE Capital) for years, records show.

Warren holds two CDs in joint accounts at Synchrony, according to her Senate financial disclosure for calendar year 2015. She held between $300,000 and $600,000 in two accounts at GE Capital Bank in 2014, records state. Warren’s precise holding amounts aren’t available because senators are only required to report a range for each account.

Despite lamenting the “tricks and traps” of credit card companies and their complex user agreements, Warren continues to keep many of her assets at those same big banks.

Her filings show she has a joint account worth between $100,000 and $250,000 at Capital One and two joint accounts at Bank of America between $115,000 and $500,000.

But most of her wealth, according to her Senate disclosure­s, is invested in mutual funds with TIAA-CREF, a financial services organizati­on for academia.

Warren holds between $2.2 million and $7.6 million in 13 different mutual fund accounts, according to her filings for 2015.

She also reported a $625,000 advance from Henry Holt & Co., which published her 2014 book, “A Fighting Chance.” She previously reported advances from Henry Holt & Co. for $1.15 million for calendar year 2014 and $525,000 in 2013.

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