Going POSTAL Act

by. Keith Leggett

Like a bad penny, the idea of the Post Office offering banking services is being resurrected.

Between 1910 and 1967, the U.S. Post Office offered banking services. However by the 1950s, the need for the Postal Savings System was being questioned and in 1965 the Postmaster General recommended abolishing the system.

But on July 16th of this year, the Pew Charitable Trust hosted an event on whether the Post Office should offer financial services.

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke at the event and has become a vocal champion of postal banking. For example in U.S. News, Senator Warren argued that allowing the post office to offer affordable banking services would be a win for underserved families and it would also shore up the finances of the Post Office. She pointed out that the Post Office already provides some financial services, like international money transfers to certain countries and domestic money orders. (Click here to read the op ed)

On July 24th, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) introduced a bill, The Providing Opportunities for Savings, Transactions and Lending Act – or the POSTAL Act, that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to provide an expanded range of financial products — including checking accounts, interest-bearing savings accounts, small-dollar loans, debit cards and international money transfers. In addition to these products, which are explicitly mentioned in the bill, Richmond would allow USPS to offer “such other basic financial services as the Postal Service determines appropriate in the public interest.”

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