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Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Post offices should offer banking services

Posted by Lara Salahi  February 4, 2014 11:49 AM

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Post offices should offer non-bank financial services like such as payday loans and check cashing to help the underserved, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed in a Huffington Post editorial.

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Joshua Roberts/Reuters

An estimated 68 million Americans don't have checking or savings accounts, according to a new report released by The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service. The average lower income household spends about 10 percent of its annual income on interest and fees on bills and other money services.

In her Huffington Post piece, Warren back the Inspector General's proposed idea of having the post office offer basic banking services for a lower cost in underserved neighborhoods where banks were not readily available.

Adding a new job description to post offices may help also help revive the postal service, which has long been struggling to stay relevant in the digital age.

"If the Postal Service offered basic banking services -- nothing fancy, just basic bill paying, check cashing and small dollar loans -- then it could provide affordable financial services for underserved families, and, at the same time, shore up its own financial footing," Warren wrote.

Warren wrote that she's going to more deeply explore this issue.

"We need innovative ways to create pathways for struggling families to build economic security, and this is an idea that falls in that category," she wrote.

What do you think? Should post offices offer basic banking services?

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