Cash-Strapped USPS to Become a Bank?
Postal banking can help make the U.S. Postal Service more viable, say representatives of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) who plan to put the banking proposal on the bargaining table on Thursday during the opening day of union negotiations with the USPS.
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the workers' union tells Target Marketing "it's a big issue."
E-commerce marketers will benefit from the union negotiations, according to APWU's press release distributed on Monday. USPS officials have said growth in e-commerce, specifically the influx of packages, is the postal service's revenue growth story while First Class mail volume is falling away.
"Along with issues such as fair wages and benefits," writes the union on Monday, "the APWU will be proposing bold improvements in customer services, such as postal banking, the sale of licenses and the addition of public notary services, along with a proposal for longer and more convenient hours for customers to allow USPS to capture a greater share of the growing e-commerce market."
USPS has been closing post offices and sorting facilities in an effort to cut spending. The postal service also often cites a 2006 law that requires the USPS to pre-fund workers' retirement accounts as its main reason for net losses, including Q1 2015's "4.3 percent increase in operating revenue over the same period last year and a net loss of $754 million."
So that raises the question of whether it's wise for a postal service with net losses to become a banker. A Jan. 20 Salon.com article by David Dayen posits that some of the "67 million Americans with little or no access to financial services" will come into post office lobbies for banking services now provided to them by payday lenders and check-cashing stores.
Dayen cites the idea's advocates as saying postal banking would free up money for millions, who can then buy products and services they need instead of paying high fees.