Coalition calls for banking services at USPS

By Carten Cordell, The Federal Times, December 17, 2015

The Post Office is not generally where you go to get a paycheck cashed, but the Campaign for Postal Banking wants to change that.

A coalition of industry and community stakeholders, the Campaign delivered petitions with more than 150,000 signatures to the U.S. Postal Service headquarters on Dec. 17, asking Postmaster General Megan Brennan to establish some financial services in post offices around the nation.

The Campaign wants to provide options for lower-income residents who live far from bank branches that could provide financial services and instead have to depend on payday lenders and a same-day check cashing services, who often charge high-interest rates.

Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works — a Campaign partner and nonprofit advocating for economic security for disadvantaged populations — said in a statement the USPS is a wide-ranging establishment that could provide check-cashing and other financial services so residents don’t have to rely on payday brokers.

“Tens of millions of seniors rely on the U.S. Postal Service as one of the most trusted institutions in America,” Lawson said. “It’s the perfect fit to offer no-fee ATMs and electronic funds transfer.”

Congressman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., appeared in support of the petition, which wants calls on USPS to add financial services to 30,000 post offices around the nation.

The USPS already offers money order services in its locations, and a May 2015 OIG report noted that if the agency offered electronic money transfers, bill payment services, expanded check cashing and expanded international money transfers, it could see $1.1 billion in annual revenue after five years.

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