Banking At The Post Office? Some Greensboro Residents Want To Make It Happen

By Bethany Chafin, June 29, 2016, originally published by WFDD.

Civic leaders and other advocacy groups are meeting in Greensboro Wednesday to demand new and improved postal services. The United States Postal Service has been facing financial difficulties for years. Advocates say that broadening their services could be a lifeline for the struggling institution.

The idea of a postal service that does more than deliver mail is actually an old one. Back in the early 20th century, your neighborhood post office could also be your bank, a concept used in many other countries. Those in gathering in Greensboro, including U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, want to revive that here.

UNCG economist Andrew Brod says this could do two things: bring more money to the postal service, and offer banking services to low-income residents, who are most likely to resort to predatory lending.

“Various safeguards could be put into place, various financial educations, literacy, to ensure that working class people have access to short-term credit options,” Brod says.

This comes as a growing number of lawmakers in Washington say the postal service is out-of-date and should be privatized. They say it will improve efficiency at a time when more and more people now use email and other technologies as their primary means of communication.