The pilot of the postal bank brings the collection of checks and the payment of invoices in 4 areas

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Dive brief:

  • The United States Postal Service (USPS) has launched a pilot program that allows some post offices to offer extended financial services to customers. New services include check cashing, bill payment and access to automated teller machines, as well as improved money orders and bank transfers, NBC News reported Monday.
  • The pilot program – which began Sept. 13, a Postal Service spokesperson told NBC in an email – is taking place in Washington, DC; Baltimore; Falls Church, Virginia; and the Bronx in New York.
  • The pilot program was not explicitly mentioned in La Poste’s ten-year plan announced in May. However, it will expand financial services to many underbanked low to moderate income (IMT) Americans, in accordance with the agency’s objective of “adapt the postal service to the changing needs of the American people and meet our obligation for financial sustainability,“USPS Chairman of the board, Ron Bloom, said.

Dive overview:

As part of the pilot, customers can bring paychecks or business checks up to $ 500 to participating post offices to purchase one-time gift cards. The pilot program also allows customers to make bill payments and access ATMs at post offices.

The postal service is ready to expand the program to other locations after the holiday season, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Postal banking, once prevalent in the United States, could make financial services more accessible to millions of Americans. A University of Michigan study published in May found that 69% of census tracts with a post office did not have a community bank branch.

In the absence of postal banking services, the United States is a bit of an outlier, according to the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which is working with the USPS on the pilot. In 2018, 91% of postal organizations worldwide offered banking services.

Congress established the Postal Savings System in 1910, and the program was officially launched the following year, attracting a number of immigrants by offering information in 24 languages ​​and distributing flyers at world ports, according to Slate. In 1915, recent immigrants owned more than 70% of postal bank deposits when they made up 15% of the population, the publication reported.

Nationwide postal bank deposits peaked at $ 3.4 billion in 1947. But in the 1960s, postal bank deposits collapsed as banks raised interest rates and gradually regained confidence. public. Rregulators abolished postal banking in 1966.

However, nearly 20% of Americans are unbanked Where underbanked like community banks have declined, the Washington Post reported.

Democratic lawmakers have sought to reintroduce postal banking for years. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, introduced the law on postal banks in 2008, and repeatedly advocated for post offices to offer expanded financial services.

The pilot may not have the most vocal support at the top. Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General and appointed by the Trump administration, “is doing the least he can do,” said Porter McConnell, founder of the Save the Post Office Coalition.

“What would it look like if there was a forward-looking post office manager who was really strategic about new sources of income, serving new populations and building a post office in the community center he was doing. should be for the 21st century? McConnell told NBC. “If you think about it, this is all a little less exciting.”

The installation of automated teller machines in postal sites is not entirely a new idea. JPMorgan reportedly had preliminary discussions with the USPS to lease space for the bank’s ATMs.


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