US Postal Service trials postal banking

The US Postal Service is trialling new or expanded financial services in four cities. This could signal a return to postal banking that could in turn help the postal service turn its dire financial situation around.

The new services being trialled include cheque cashing (up to $500), bill paying, ATM access, expanded and improved money orders and expanded wire transfers.

The US Congress would have to pass a law to enable the programme to be fully rolled out, something that hasn’t had much success in the past. The pilot is seen as a proof of concept trial that may gain support among lawmakers should it be a success.

Mark Dimondstein, the president of the American Postal Workers Union, said the test run was “a small step in a very positive direction.”

“We view expanded services as a win for the people of the country, a win for the Postal Service itself, because it will bring in new revenue, and, of course, a win for the postal workers who are extremely dedicated to the mission,” Dimondstein said in a phone interview.

Around 6.5% of US households lack banking facilities due to mistrust of the financial system, while University of Michigan research shows that 60 million people do not have any community bank branches near them, though the same people do have a post office retail location near them. As with the UK’s Post Office, this move could give greater access banking facilities nationwide.

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