Postal banking pilot program brings ‘grave reservations’

October 6, 2021

Credit unions strongly support—and are diligently working on—expanding financial inclusion, but CUNA has “grave reservations” about efforts of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to provide banking services. CUNA wrote to leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on the program.

“The current postal banking pilot program, located at four post offices on the East Coast, offers underbanked individuals with financial services that they could easily receive at credit unions,” the letter reads. “Further, credit unions can generally offer these services with more options to the consumer and also at a much lower cost.”

CUNA adds that these efforts are well beyond the USPS’s core competencies, and adding another layer raises several serious regulatory and consumer protection questions, and could leave consumers less protected than they would be at a regulated financial institution.

“Now more than ever, American’s need access to reliable and affordable banking options. Congress should explore taking a more inclusive approach to credit union membership rather than straining the capacity of the US Postal Service,” the letter reads.

CUNA adds that the USPS can further assist financial services providers and consumers is to return to on-time delivery of first-class mail, as delayed mail leads to unpaid bills, late fees, adverse credit reporting, and other penalties.