Special Delivery: 150,000+ to U.S. Postal Service
‘Implement Postal Banking Now!’
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) joined members of the Campaign for Postal Banking on Dec. 17 to make a special delivery to the biggest delivery organization of all – the U.S. Postal Service.
Norton and a coalition of 29 consumer, labor and civic organizations – including the APWU – presented more than 150,000 signatures on a petition urging the agency to implement postal banking. Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman accepted the signatures in the lobby of USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.
The petition calls on the Postmaster General to take immediate action to establish low-cost financial services in the nation’s post offices. Norton praised the groups for pursuing postal banking, saying they had “done more for the Postal Service than the Congress of the United States.”
“Nearly 28 percent of U.S. households are underserved by traditional banks and are forced to turn to payday lenders, check cashers, and other financial predators, spending on average 10 percent of their income on fees and services,” the petition says.
“The figure is a shocking 53.6 percent among African-American households,” said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “These petitions are a down payment on what’s to come. We will continue to fight for new and expanded service and our public Postal Service,” she said.
Rev. Graylan Hagler, who led the movement to drive financial predators from the nation’s capital, said pay-day lenders and check-cashing companies prey on poor communities that banks don’t serve. “It makes great sense that these vital services would be offered through the Postal Service,” he said. “You’re located in every community – urban and rural and suburban,” he said.
Rich Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, pointed out that the average income of Social Security recipients is just $25,000 per year. “Having the Postal Service – with 30,000 post offices around the country – provide banking makes it easier for seniors to survive,” he said.
Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America’s Future, vowed to make postal banking an issue in the presidential campaign, noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had already endorsed the idea.
“Tens of millions of seniors rely on the U.S. Postal Service as one of the most trusted institutions in America,” said Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works. “It’s the perfect fit to offer no-fee ATMs and electronic funds transfer.”
Speaking after the event, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said that through postal banking, the USPS “can step in to fulfill its mission of providing universal service while strengthening the public Postal Service and protecting good jobs that our communities need.”