Skip to main content

A few days ago, a diary was posted explaining that the US Inspector General had recently endorsed the idea of the United States Post Office offering simple banking services in addition to its normal mail delivery service.

While this idea might seem foreign to many Americans, in the past the post office actually offered banking services for over 50 years. Per The New Republic, beginning in 1911:

"...the Postal Savings System allowed Americans to deposit cash with certain branch post offices, at 2 percent interest. By 1947, the system held deposits for over four million customers. Though dismantled in 1967 (after banks offered higher interest rates and eroded its market share), the post office continues to issue domestic and international money orders, including $22.4 billion worth in 2011, as well as prepaid debit cards through a deal with American Express."
Putting aside the sad fact that banks once offered 2% interest rates (and you would now be lucky to get even half a percent), today post offices could offer basic banking services such as check-cashing, saving accounts, and even small-dollar loans similar to payday lenders, yet at much lower interest rates which could potentially save low-income Americans thousands of dollars per household per year.

The idea is so good that Senator Elizabeth Warren has now endorsed the idea.

In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Senator Warren explains that because of the exorbitant fees that payday lenders charge, low-income Americans spend roughly 10% of their income on things like checking cashing and short term loans, which is roughly the same amount that the average American spends on food.

Having grown up in a low-income family myself, I've experienced far too many times to recall when my single mother would go to one of these payday lenders for a short-term loan just to keep the lights at home from being shut off or to pay the rent and would quickly find herself in a vicious cycle of more loans, fees, and high interest rates.

Fortunately in my adult life I haven't had to endure that same hardship, but in today's world of stagnant wages and an increasing cost of living, many Americans still turn to these payday lenders as they struggle to stay in the middle class.

As Elizabeth Warren points out, this idea has been done in other countries around the world and has been proven successful. Furthermore, not only could it help millions of Americans but it could also prove beneficial to the postal service's bottom line at a time when USPS - which employs over half a million people - desperately needs it.

This idea could easily be adopted by the Postmaster General and begin without Congressional approval, but so far he has declined to endorse the Inspector General's recommendation. But hopefully now with people like Senator Warren endorsing the idea,  public pressure will mount for this idea to become a reality.

Update: another Daily Kos user started a White House petition for this idea. If you like the idea feel free to sign it!

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/...

Originally posted to GleninCA on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Egg, RakDaddy, ginabroom, Alumbrados, chuck utzman, Terri, TXdem, Mogolori, dragonlady, askew, Danno11, PeterHug, sacrelicious, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, wu ming, Sherri in TX, CleverNickName, Cvstos, eeff, etatauri, Pompatus, red moon dog, RFK Lives, gjohnsit, exNYinTX, dp, hubcap, niemann, Creosote, Heart of the Rockies, Eternal Hope, onig, opinionated, bronte17, Zinman, Babsnc, TracieLynn, BlackSheep1, srkp23, highacidity, KMc, chuckvw, smokem2271, Aquarius40, roses, oceanview, corncam, Nate Roberts, Iberian, antirove, sidnora, abs0628, aitchdee, wader, Redfire, Texknight, Eric Blair, hangingchad, emmasnacker, pat bunny, Noodles, lalato, HeyMikey, papercut, grrr, Brian82, Lilith, Curt Matlock, KellyB, WisVoter, KayCeSF, lyvwyr101, Sybil Liberty, Armand451, bahaba, oortdust, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, kbman, maybeeso in michigan, Bluesee, ichibon, UncleCharlie, JanetT in MD, subtropolis, irate, kitchen sink think tank, kefauver, ajsuited, myeye, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, Gary Norton, bleeding blue, LNK, where4art, Kayakbiker, wmspringer, lotlizard, stevemb, markdd, Sandino, Tool, Ozzie, sodalis, Hannibal, peacestpete, tigerdog, Alan Arizona, kathny, xaxnar, berko, martini, Dolphin99, BachFan, myboo, cybersaur, edwardssl, bastrop, AoT, sleipner, KenBee, kck, MJ via Chicago, Lashe, philipmerrill, Rosaura, Crashing Vor, JVolvo, old possum, el cid, middleagedhousewife, llbear, onionjim, CA Nana, James Hepburn, kurt, bstotts, sea note, markthshark, PatConnors, ammasdarling, old wobbly, Sapere aude, camlbacker, ColoTim, karmsy, Wino, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, terabytes, dclawyer06, deepeco, Shadowmage36, FischFry, davehouck, bobswern, gchaucer2, Librarianmom, GeorgeXVIII, madgranny, Assaf, TomP, VA Breeze, MKinTN, Ezekiel in Exile, mconvente, misterwade, flowerfarmer, GAS, Aureas2, Involuntary Exile, elwior, Buckeye Nut Schell, mikeconwell, Calamity Jean, tofumagoo, royce, Cassandra Waites, RandomNonviolence, smartdemmg, triplepoint, Horsefeathers, petulans, Groucho Marxist, Karen Hedwig Backman, JamieG from Md, Mayfly, dmhlt 66, Diogenes2008, JBL55, LaFeminista, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, enemy of the people, Bule Betawi, multilee, Rhysling, Glacial Erratic, spacecadet1, greengemini, cantelow, Ohiodem1, socal altvibe, I give in to sin, shopkeeper, sillycilla, dRefractor, geebeebee, MKSinSA, Shelley99, ArthurPoet, Tortmaster, Dragon5616, Amber6541, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, flitedocnm, The Jester, Polly Syllabic, Lost and Found, appledown, Eddie L, cordgrass, tb mare, pixxer, Puddytat, DiegoUK, albrt, morninmist, Publius2008, Betty Pinson, cocinero, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, newusername, theKgirls, annieli, Colorado is the Shiznit, coquiero, Liberal Capitalist, spooks51, slowbutsure, sostos, xarkGirl, cv lurking gf, La Gitane, FarWestGirl, lexalou, rg611, Kokomo for Obama, sethtriggs, rk2, VirginiaJeff, abbotkinney, LSmith, Grandma Susie, peregrine kate, myrmecia gulosa, stevie avebury, blue muon, bakeneko, Mark Dauner, SouthernLiberalinMD, Kurt from CMH, DEMonrat ankle biter, PrometheusUnbound, No one gets out alive, Laurel in CA, mikeVA, IowaBiologist, ridemybike, bluezen, isabelle hayes, StonyB, IndieGuy, rustypatina, 420 forever, congenitalefty, Mr Robert, peachcreek, reginahny, MartyM, newliberl, lunachickie, New Minas, avsp, catchy, AZ Sphinx Moth, Robynhood too, CalBearMom, Heavy Mettle, GoGoGoEverton, Silvia Nightshade, Ray Pensador, Chaddiwicker, atana, jusjtim35, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, TheMeansAreTheEnd, Oregonemom, poopdogcomedy, Dewstino, ORswede, Smoh, ModerateJosh, Lordcaradoc, The Marti, RUNDOWN, CA wildwoman, Dodgerdog1, eagleray, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Capt Crunch, Gygaxian, patbahn, gnosticator, Skyye, agiftagain, Hauser Aspen, socialismorbarbarism, Arkenstark, traditionalhomemaker

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site