Post Office Banking?
I think this is an idea whose time has come (again!). Instead of payday loans and check cashing places we let the post office do it. The idea that the Post Office should provide banking services was one of the platforms of the Grange back at the turn of the 20th century.
Post Office banking would save people without current banking services hundreds of dollars a year and run out of business a good number of unsavory businesses who prey on the poor.
Poll: Americans Like Elizabeth Warren’s Call To Replace Payday Lenders With Post Office Banking
Nearly a fifth of the country doesn’t know what to make of the idea of getting basic banking services from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), according to a new poll, but support for the idea outweighs opposition by a substantial margin among the rest of the populace.
The poll found 44 percent in favor of and 37 percent opposed to the idea put forth recently by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to have the USPS replace check-cashing and payday-lending businesses. The survey found 19 percent unsure of their position. That significant level of uncertainty in the YouGov/Huffington Post survey of nearly 1,000 people suggests that public opinion of the postal banking idea could still break in either direction. (While YouGov is an online polling system, it is not a haphazard one, and its methodology has been embraced as scientific by polling expert Nate Silver.)
The idea behind the proposal Warren made in early February is actually much older and comes from two seemingly disparate public policy problems. The first is payday lending itself. That predatory industry siphons more than $3 billion per year out of the country’s poorest communities by charging average annual interest rates of nearly 400 percent to people too desperate for cash to worry about the fine print. State-level crackdown efforts in the past have proven largely ineffective because the industry wields significant influence with lawmakers and because it simply changes tactics to evade the few regulations that do make it past their army of lobbyists. Federal oversight is finally coming to the industry after it had slipped through the regulatory cracks for years, and that scrutiny has caused major banks to drop their internal high-interest cash advance programs that duplicated some of the payday lending industry’s worst practices.