News Release

Could Postal Banking Address “Inequality in the Financial System”?

Members of Congress, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are proposing a postal banking program to address inequalities. She recently said: “This pilot program will not only help us begin to address systematic inequality in the financial system, but it will also create much needed source of revenue for the U.S. Postal Service.”

CHRISTOPHER W. SHAW, christophershaw.ca@gmail.com@chris_w_shaw
Shaw is author of the book Preserving the People’s Post Office and recently wrote the piece “The U.S. Postal Service Was Designed to Serve Democracy” for Foreign Affairs.

He said today: “Eight million households in the United States lack bank accounts because the existing system of privately owned banks doesn’t offer accessible and affordable financial services. But the U.S. Postal Service can serve as a solution. A growing political movement highlights how the Postal Service could offer a public option for banking, making essential financial services more available to low- and middle-income households at over 30,000 post offices nationwide. Significantly, there is an important historical precedent: postal banking operated for more than fifty years during the twentieth century, when millions of Americans deposited billions of dollars in the postal bank. A new congressional push for programs in selected rural and urban areas to provide surcharge-free ATMs, wire transfers, check cashing, and bill payment at post offices would perform a pilot study for extending banking services to millions of underserved Americans. Expanding financial services at post offices also would bring new revenues to the Postal Service helping to revitalize the agency.”

See his op-ed in the Washington Post last year: “Postal banking is making a comeback. Here’s how to ensure it becomes a reality.