Canada Post Moves Forward on Postal Lending Service

Much like the APWU and similar advocates in the United States, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has long-campaigned for an expansion of postal financial services in Canada. Expanding financial services was only part of an expansive vision for the future of Canada Post put forth by CUPW. In 2016, they developed a program called Delivering Community Power, which imagined postal workers at the center of solutions to various social problems, including poverty, climate change, inadequate access to financial services, and lack of access to broadband internet.

Late this summer, CUPW celebrated a big victory when Canada Post announced a personal loan service, which was being piloted in Canada, is to become a permanent fixture at Canada Post locations across the country.

The service, called MyMoney, offers Canadians personal loans of up to $30,000. With interest rates attached to the loan similar or lower than other lenders, the MyMoney loans have also been stripped of “origination fees” and other surcharges that are common with other lenders, making them a more affordable option for many Canadians in need of some short-term credit. The loans are on offer at Canada Post retail locations across the country and are serviced in partnership with TD Bank.

The MyMoney product sprang out of a pilot project proposed by the CUPW to bring additional financial services to underserved indigenous communities across Canada. The pilots began in October 2021, and included the personal loans, ATM services, and a check cashing service at post offices in remote indigenous communities. In addition to the expanded financial services on offer in the pilots, CUPW secured commitments from Canada Post to hire staff directly from the indigenous communities being served.

The MyMoney product, Canada Post wrote in a standup talk to employees, garnered “strong market demand…with interest far exceeding both Canada Post’s and TD’s expectations.” Michael Yee, vice President of financial services at Canada Post, told the CBC, “What we found when we spoke to Canadians is that there is really a need in the market in accessing simple and affordable loan services.”

The pilots, and the nationwide expansion of the MyMoney product, are a direct result of the union’s unwavering campaigning on the Delivering Community Power initiative. Part of the CUPW initiative calls for transforming Canadian post offices into what they call “Community Hubs.” These hubs are intended to place post offices at the center of local communities, offering many new and traditional services and serving as a gathering place for communities. CUPW have succeeded in working with Canada Post to launch a few community hubs as pilots across the country, especially in rural Indigenous communities. They offer things like the expanded financial services, but also parcel lockers, electric vehicle charging stations, and meeting and co-working spaces.

The union is hopeful that the success of the MyMoney product and other expanded services will be reflected in an upcoming review of the Postal Services Charter, which is the Canadian government’s stated policy expectations for the role of the postal service in their country. The government has begun that process with a slanted poll of the public which wrongly suggests Canada Post is funded by taxpayers.

The CUPW is in the process of preparing a robust campaign to “develop very strong, detailed arguments in favour of [their] positions concerning expansion of services, preserving existing services, financial issues, delivery frequency, service standards, modes of delivery, and rural services.”

The longstanding commitment and persistence of Canadian postal workers fighting for the Delivering Community Power vision continues to be an inspiration to the Campaign for Postal Banking. Theirs is an ambitious vision, and while the opposition has been great, their dogged determination to campaigning for a brighter future for Canada Post is beginning to bear fruit.

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