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Postal service considers becoming banks

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 07 2014 05:07:23 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 07 2014 06:36:57 PM CST

A new report notes the U.S. postal service could make big bucks offering financial services.

Stamps, letters and payday loans?

A new report notes the U.S. postal service could make big bucks offering financial services.

The plan would target rural communities that are not close to a bank.

Some customers are mixed on the idea.

The report shows there are over 20,000 post offices that have only one or no bank branches located in the same zip code.

The report suggests by adding basic banking services, the postal service could make billions.

The people are under-served, according to a 30-plus page report by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

Many living close to a post office, but miles away from a bank.

"It would be one less trip because my closest bank is either in Bloomsbury or up in Washington," said Asbury, New Jersey resident, Karen Bullivant. "That's ten miles either way."

The report shows 59 percent of post offices are located in zip codes with only one or no bank branches around them.

The proposal suggests these locations offer financial services like direct deposits, bill paying options, and payday loans.

Some worry about security, and feel a special window would be needed.

"Just like the kiosks in grocery stores have the gate that comes down, they have a bay," added G.J. Waller, from Changewater, New Jersey.

The move could be a financial boon for the U.S. Postal Service.

The government agency reported a five billion dollar shortfall last year.

The report projects that by offering financial services the USPS could make close to nine billion dollars a year.

Some question those numbers.

"If you have to go to the post office it would help them make money," said Bullivant. "But if you get your mail delivered to the house I don't think people would stop at the post office just to do that."

So far the postal service is only looking at the option. It's also not clear if the agency would need government approval before offering the services.