Honey, I Need to Stop By The Post Office And Make A Deposit

Filed in National by on February 21, 2014

 

 

Imagine that.  Swing by the Post Office and do your banking.  Deposits, not by mail, though you could from home or the Postal box down at the corner.  But actually do your banking when you send the kids a care package.  A really great idea with no downsides.

“No, too new, too radical”, some naysayers say.  But wait.  They’re doing it all over the world.  In crazy places like Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Israel, and Brazil.  Seems to work for them.  Why not for us?  Wait, we once did it here, from 1910 until 1966 you could do savings through the post office, in many dozens of locations across the country where there were few banks and always a post office.  The creation of the FDIC eliminated the natural advantages post office saving banks held against private  banks back then.

So, imagine this.  Small business micro-lending in communities banks, maybe tied to the SBA, the biggies  won’t touch with a ten foot pole.  Pay-day loans with non-userious, obscene interest rates. Yes, to put these predatory lenders, financed by the biggies, out of business.   Checking with modest, fair fees, electronic transfers including to foreign countries for immigrants.  ATM’s with reasonable fees.   Savings accounts.  Hey, and how about student loans and fair and reasonable rates?

Just go crazy thinking up banking services you aren’t getting now from the mega-bank chains, at least at a fair and reasonable price.  Especially in communities, both urban and rural, where there are few or no banks.

And maybe these services and the expertise are contracted through local, community banks by the USPS, not the mega-chains.  This would give them and the USPS fresh cash flow and new outlets they might not be able to finance.  From brick and mortar already up and running.

Senator Warren, thank you for creative thinking outside the box.  And thank you for thinking about the people at the grassroots.  Senators Carper and Coons, will you get on board and get imaginative with her?

 

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  1. cassandra_m says:

    I’m a fan of this idea — but definitely want to hear more details of the services that the USPS would offer. There is a real potential for overreach here and I’d like to see them service the unbanked with basic services. One of the best thing that Delaware did was to rein in Payday Lenders and this seems to be something of a trend (or at least I hope so). Letting the USPS serve a market that is severely underserved makes sense to me.

  2. Frank says:

    One downside.

    The Post Office tends to be honest. It could never compete with Wall Street.

    Also, it’s been done before in the US. http://about.usps.com/publications/pub100/pub100_025.htm

  3. Liberal Elite says:

    @F “The Post Office tends to be honest. It could never compete with Wall Street.”

    Wall Street is not the problem. The problem is Wall Street lobbyists.

    It’s the same reason the Government couldn’t lend directly to college students for tuition. Oh yea.. “The banks could do it better!”… Yea… right….

  4. bamboozer says:

    Heard a discussion on the idea and am a convert, it works all over the world and could single handedly pull the post office out of the red and into profitability. As usual I also expect the usual histrionics from the Republicans and predictions of doom, sort of like the way they talk about the ACA.

  5. Joanne Christian says:

    I like going to the post office, so if it means letting them keep Saturday hours that’s great. Notary service from my bank would be great, to then just hit the post office all in one full swoop.

    Right now, my bank doesn’t interfere w/ deli prices–and are more a tenant on site. I always forget they are in the store. But the post office? Seems on my list, bank and post office always make the errand list together–so like cass, I too, am intrigued by this potential partnership.

  6. Frank says:

    “Wall Street is not the problem. The problem is Wall Street lobbyists.”

    And whose bidding do those lobbyists obey?

    Lobbyists are lackeys–lackeys in 1,000 dollar suits, but still lackeys. They do their employers’ bidding.

    And honesty is not lobbyists’ strong point, either (though I have known some honest lobbyists, but they worked for unions, not banks or management).

  7. Liberal Elite says:

    @F “And whose bidding do those lobbyists obey?”

    The point I was trying to make is that it is fairly obvious that the Post Office could be successful at doing this. It’s just that the politicians are unlikely to ever give them the chance.

    After all.. We do have the best government that money can buy.

  8. Camptown Lady says:

    The point I was trying to make is that it is fairly obvious that the Post Office could be successful at doing this.

    Why is it ‘fairly obvious?’ They lose $25-million-a-day delivering mail, so people are going to trust them to handle their money? lol

  9. John Young says:

    Cassandra,

    I see payday lenders everywhere still.

  10. Camptown: Have you any idea how and why the USPS’s sizeable operating profit results in a massive deficit each year? I’m not going to do you homework for you any more but I’ll give you a clue: what causes this was done by a Republican congress whose aim was/is to privatize the USPS and turn the business over to the like of FEDEX, et al.

  11. John Young says:

    How come when the Dems do that to schools, progressives sit on their hands?

  12. Frank says:

    The Post Office loses money because of Republicans in Congress are trying to destroy it.

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/11697/postal-service-bankrupt-republicans-set-usps-on-fire

    The Post Office should be viewed as a service, not as a profit-making entity. The cancer of contemporary Republicanism is the belief that there is no such thing as a public service, that all that matters is Mammon.

    Coincidentally, my local rag (the only paper in Virginia to oppose massive resistance during the Civil Rights struggle, by the way) had an editorial on this issue today.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2014/02/new-old-way-save-usps

  13. cassandra_m says:

    John — reining in ≠ banning them.

    The other problem with the Postal Service is similar to the one Amtrak has — Congress won’t let it operate at better efficiencies. Proposals like eliminating Saturday deliveries, or consolidating distribution centers, or reducing RFD services are DOA in a Congress that that tells people that government should run more like a business and then refuses to make the hard business choices.

  14. Liberal Elite says:

    @PP “what causes this was done by a Republican congress whose aim was/is to privatize the USPS…”

    And these are the same congressmen who balk at closing any post offices in those little towns of all those red states.

    The Post Office is being forced to run in the red. It’s just one more way in which the blue states subsidize the red states.. and the GOP gets to rant and rail about it as they waste our money!…. Nice.

  15. Liberal Elite says:

    @CL “They lose $25-million-a-day delivering mail, so people are going to trust them to handle their money? lol”

    Are you really that clueless?

    Think about what is happening and why.

  16. Camptown Lady says:

    I already know why- classical government-run inefficiency.

    When you have something really important to ship, you send it Fed Ex or UPS. This is because most people know that the USPS is unreliable.

    If the post office were to be privatized, you’d see reliable delivery at a lower price.

    The reason AMTRAK loses so much money is that it makes too many unprofitable runs. If some idiot wants to take the train from El Paso to Memphis, the government could save money by buying them an airline ticket.

  17. cassandra_m says:

    Actually, that’s not right. USPS mail is quite reliable for the right materials. Most of the stuff I buy from places like Ebay or Etsy come via USPS and most of the personal packages I send are via USPS. USPS is quite good at delivering mail for a decent price — UPS and FedEx offer a bunch of specialty delivery services that most consumers never see. FedEx Smart Post uses the USPS to deliver certain kinds of consumer packages and FedEx transports some USPS traffic, not unlike the regular airlines do.

    There is no way you’d get a Christmas Card from your house to your Aunt’s house in California for .49 in a privatized system. No way.

  18. Dave says:

    “I already know why- classical government-run inefficiency.”

    Actually, you are wrong. Here, I’ll help. Just google “Why isn’t the post office profitable.” Peruse some of the results and see if you can glean some facts. Don’t worry about your grade, you’ll be graded on a curve in consideration of your circumstances.

  19. Joanne Christian says:

    I like FEDEX too–but it is NEVER convenient in my area for services in sending. And it’s FEDEX-PENSIVE. Being on the receiving end–great service.

    To cass’s point–I will never understand why in the world EBay, and Amazon etc., never seemed to get involved with outcry when Saturday stoppage, and postal increases are front and center.

    As much as I love my cards, letters, and first class mail, I do wonder if it is time to revert back to what we used to have as a rate between local and long distance (air mail). Anybody else remember those days? C’mon ElSom :) !!! Flat rate packages are great. Love it. But maybe, more local mail would happen if there was a “territory” considered local rate–at 25 cents or such? Might get the Christmas card volume up :) I don’t personally do on-line banking, bill-paying etc., but before the argument is huh?…..seriously, 49 cents on every bill does add up, as one local function to perhaps increase volume. Local charity responses also. Birthday/greeting cards, jury summons, election stuff, proxy mail…..all stupid stuff, that’s rather local, but needs a stamp.

  20. Tom McKenney says:

    When you have something really important to ship, you send it Fed Ex or UPS. This is because most people know that the USPS is unreliable.

    That is nonsense I use USPS certified mail for important papers. I’ve never had a problem. I had to use Fed-ex for work and it was torture just waiting to get it sent. The post office was much quicker.

  21. Joanne Christian says:

    Agree w/ you Tom.

  22. John Young says:

    Cassandra, I certainly understand the difference between banning and reining in, but the fact that they remain a steadfast part of the landscape suggests what?

  23. Davy says:

    Banks do one thing: take and re-allocate risk.

    Banks borrow short (e.g., take deposits) and lend long. Banks thus take interest-rate risk. As interest rates rise, the spread between the rate at which banks borrow now and the rate at which they lent before narrows. When the spread narrows, banks profit less or even lose money. Banks can offload this risk: they can sell their rights to repayment (sometimes as collateralized debt obligations or similar securities).

    Banks also take and re-allocate credit risk, and they can take liquidity risk to increase their profits.

    The government has allowed GSEs to take credit risk before: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac once existed just to take credit risk. And because the government implicitly guaranteed their debts, the government effectively subsidized the two GSEs’ direct and indirect lending. Senator Warren now wants the USPS to serve a similar role.

    I do not like the idea. Too-big-to-fail banks and other government guarantees already distort the credit market enough.

  24. cassandra_m says:

    It suggests that they are not gone — but operating under the restrictions imposed upon them. The way the law was meant to work.

  25. liberalgeek says:

    I wonder if Camptown Lady sends out bills and birthday cards by UPS or FedEx?

  26. Liberal Elite says:

    And I wonder what Camptown Lady thinks every time she does go her money losing local post office? Does she really wish it was three towns away so she can save $0.03 on taxes each year?

  27. ben says:

    She probably complains about the longs lines and under-staffing. If only there was SOME WAY the post office could have more people working in it.

  28. Dorian Gray says:

    For less than half a dollar you can stick a piece of paper in your mail slot for the post. Then it arrives to any address you indicate pretty much anywhere in the lower 48 in about 3 days. Yeah the USPS sucks.

    They lose money because not every entity is suppose to make money, contrary to the dogma that’s been hammered into your brains since birth.

    I’ll tell you what I hate… the Wilmington Fire Departments. Money pit! When’s the last time they turned a profit. Disgusting commies… and whilst I’m at it I’d like to see the books at the water treatment plants/reservoirs. Cash down the drain so we can what, drink and bathe in clean water. Socialist plot to deliver flouride I bet…

  29. Camptown Lady says:

    A letter doesn’t cost fifty cents- it costs $25-million-a-day.

    Actually, that’s not right. USPS mail is quite reliable for the right materials.
    Agreed, assuming that by ‘right materials’ you mean unimportant.

    There is no way you’d get a Christmas Card from your house to your Aunt’s house in California for .49 in a privatized system. No way.

    How do you know?

    Actually, you are wrong. Here, I’ll help. Just google….Don’t worry about your grade, you’ll be graded on a curve in consideration of your circumstances.

    What are you babbling about?

    The USPS loses $25-million, daily. And all I see here are excuses. But, excuses don’t alter reality. In any case, the thread is about USPS banks, and if you want to ‘invest’ your money in an entity as inept as the USPS, be my guest- I’m sure your cash will be as safe and secure as Fisker stock.

  30. Jason330 says:

    In 2003 congress retroactively transferred responsibility for funding the cost of military retirement benefits from the Treasury to the Postal Service. That handed the Postal Service a $27 billion debt obligation. Thanks Congress!!

    So yeah.. the USPS is losing money. If that is your point, you are right.. I guess.

  31. cassandra m says:

    How do you know?

    FedExSuperSaver (3 day delivery) for something the size of a Christmas Card is already $21.23. No one else is going to get anywhere near .50 for 3 day delivery. No One. First Class mail deliveries are going down, not up so there’s no more efficiencies to be had there. And all of the other efficiencies that the USPS keeps proposing get shot down by Congress. That isn’t an excuse — that’s a fact.

  32. Geezer says:

    “How do you know?”

    Because 25% of the packages delivered by FedEx and UPS actually are delivered by the USPS.

    You have one fact, and it explains nothing. The quality of DL’s trolls is declining.

  33. Dave says:

    The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, requires the Postal Service to pre-fund its benefit obligations, including for workers not even hired yet(!) to the tune of $5.5 B per year to lock in health benefits for future retirees for the next 75 years. Currently the USPS has $44 billion in the pre-retiree account. While the USPS may not be on the leading edge of profitability pre funding, especially for workers

    The clueless can’t recognize clues, because well, because they are clueless. What’s worse is that they celebrate their cluelessness.

  34. Jason330 says:

    “The quality of DL’s trolls is declining.”

    I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but it is true.

  35. pandora says:

    Camptown Lady is a dude. He’s been posting that Foseti stuff all over Delaware Blogs. Go to the 4th comment down. Sound familiar?

  36. Dorian Gray says:

    Hey, Dave. I’ll tell you what I’m babbling on about. You keep going back to this idea that the Post Office needs to make money so the fact that they lose $25 million a day means something to you. I, unlike you, couldn’t give a flying fuck all. I thought that my brief, sarcastic comment made that abundantly clear.

    You can keep saying USPS loses money and I’ll keep saying I don’t care. I wrote that many public services don’t turn a profit and I don’t care because that isn’t the benefit we derive from them.

    I have no idea why this is such a difficult concept to grasp.

  37. ben says:

    I think CL is your target, GD.. not Dave.

    anyway… I like your comparison of the USPS to the fire department. I think the biggest difference is, there isnt a private sector alternative to the Fire Department (ok.. there ‘is”, but not in the way that Fedex or UPS exists) … and thank FSM for that.
    I think the biggest challenge to the USPS, and post in general ( really any industry that is paper-based)…. is that letters are a dying industry. I send one piece of mail per month… and if my rental company stops charging a $30 “convenience fee” for online payments… i’ll be sending 0 pieces a month. I realize this is a bad debate tactic… but here goes.. many people I know (around my age) rarely use the mail. It is all electronic.

    You take letters out of… or almost out of the equation, (and yes, i understand many many people dont have the luxury of online billpay and communication… i am not trying to disenfranchise them, I am just commenting on how i see the state of mail-carrying) and all that’s left is packages.
    Now, unless we nationalize parcel service (which I am not opposed to) what’s really the point of having a postal service? (other than the obvious of keeping private carrier rates affordable)
    Yes, the GOP government under false president GWB really drove a stake into the heart of the USPS but it isnt the fault of any politician that paper is simply on it’s way out. Perhaps the best, long-term (really long term) solution is to find other sectors to transfer that work-force in to, so there isnt an unemployment shock when it collapses…… or, nationalize personal (businesses have to pay extra, they dont need to eat) parcel delivery pay for it with tax dollars and never worry about it again.

  38. Dorian Gray says:

    Ah, I see. Sometime the quoting of one by another and the direct responses within comments is misread by me. My apologies for misdirecting my reply.

  39. Dave says:

    I also had an unfinished sentence when I said

    “While the USPS may not be on the leading edge of profitability pre funding, especially for workers…” should have said

    “While the USPS may not be on the leading edge of profitability, pre funding, especially for workers do not even exist is the height of foolishness by Congressional meddlers who demand that the USPS pay it’s own way, while handcuffing them to keep them from doing it!”

  40. Tom McKenney says:

    Congress still has it’s franking privilege, maybe they can pay their fair share.

  41. Joanne Christian says:

    Ben, I know you are being earnest when you discuss not disenfranchising people, so don’t take offense w/ what I am discussing.

    Your age group. It’s your age group in the US. And its that US “exceptionalism” creeping in. Currently, right now, I have an educated/educating 20 and 26 y.o. located in other parts of the world that can’t have or are permitted computer access. Additionally, having hosted Russian and Chinese people/families they too are unable to communicate via email. So U.S. Mule is VERY important around here. Remember, it it weren’t for letters, the atrocities under Hitler would have NEVER made the news.

    On a more domestic note, I don’t think there’s a soldier out there who would trade a letter for an email. And prisoners? I don’t know–are prisoners allowed to get email? Anybody know out there?

    All I’m saying, is it’s beyond bill-paying, and even our US borders. For some of us, and our families/friends it REALLY is the only communication, and in some cases a few extra dollars–that only the mail can bring.

    I just love my stamped mail :) !!!

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