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Postal News Roundup

USPS Moves Ahead on Plant Consolidations, Lawmakers and Unions Speak Out - FierceGovernment
USPS expects it will save about $750 million a year by closing those facilities--money that it desperately needs after the agency recorded losses in 21 of the last 23 quarters. In 2012 and 2013, the Postal Service consolidated 141 mail processing facilities, resulting in cost savings of about $865 million, the IG says. But the consolidations will also affect about 15,000 employees, which makes Postal unions and some lawmakers wonder if the savings are worth it. Fifty senators on both sides of the aisle called for a one-year hold on the Postal Service's plans to shut down dozens of mail processing plants and cut thousands of positions in an Aug. 14 letter to appropriations leaders. The American Postal Workers Union has also come out against the planned consolidations. "Few people seem to be aware of the devastating effect the plant closures would have on the nation's mail system," APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in an Aug. 14 statement. "If the plants are closed or consolidated, it will mean the end of overnight mail delivery in this country."

A Short History of Postal Banking - Slate
Last week John Oliver offered up an exposé on payday loans, describing them as “the circle of debt” that “screws us all.” And at the conclusion of Oliver’s takedown on payday lending Sarah Silverman offered low-income borrowers better alternatives—including donating blood and jumping in front of rich folks’ cars. But there is a burgeoning alternative to usurious payday lending: postal banking, which allows low-income Americans to do their banking—from bill payment to small loans—at the same post office where they buy stamps. As states try to regulate away the payday-lending sector, their desperate customers may be pushed either into the black market or bankruptcy. Postal banking is a much better solution. It is time to consider a “public option” for small loans.