February 05, 2014

Warren, colleagues support USPS banking

Feb. 6, 2014 – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and other Democrats have expressed support for the idea of the U.S. Postal Service offering financial services and products such as prepaid cards and small loans.

The USPS Office of Inspector General recently put out a white paper suggesting the agency offer financial services – pointing out that the agency could earn $9 billion by targeting underbanked customers. The Hill quoted Warren as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in support of the idea and cited legislation from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., that would authorize the USPS to move forward.

NAFCU Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt responded, "Credit unions already offer excellent loan products and savings mechanisms for their members, and consumers are best served by institutions that can offer a full range of financial services and establish relationships with their members. Credit unions are known for their strong ties to communities and dedication to serving the underbanked."

The Hill quoted several Republican lawmakers and the CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, Camden Fine, questioning the agency's aptitude for banking, as well as the likelihood that banking would help the agency recover its significant losses in the past few years.

The USPS offered a saving system for consumers from 1911 until the 1960s, when it closed due to lack of demand.