Senators Gillibrand and Sanders Reintroduce Postal Banking Act

Sep 23, 2020Banks & Credit Unions, Congressional Legislation, News

Last week, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) hosted a Facebook Live conversation where the two legislators announced their reintroduction of the Postal Banking Act, legislation that would, among other things, allow post offices to offer basic financial services similar to those offered by banks and other traditional financial institutions.

“Being poor in America was expensive before the pandemic, and this unprecedented crisis has made it even harder for underserved communities to access the financial services they need,” said Gillibrand. “The USPS is the only institution that serves every community in the country, from inner cities to rural America.”

“The Postal Banking Act would reinforce the postal service, provide critical revenue, and establish postal banking for the nearly 10 million American households who lack access to basic financial services ,” Gillibrand continued.

Millions of Americans currently rely on the USPS to deliver paychecks, prescriptions, and election ballots. With the coming election and increased reliance on mail-in voting, recent changes to the agency could increase costs to states and hinder the timely delivery of election mail.

The Postal Banking Act would establish a nonprofit bank to offer low-cost accounts, mobile banking, ATMs, and low-interest loans to underbanked communities, creating $9 billion in yearly revenue for the USPS.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that communities all over America lack traditional banking services,” Sanders said. “During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we need to make sure that everyone in America is able to receive the affordable banking services that they desperately need.”

The Senators also criticized the Trump administration’s push-backs on the agency, including privatization attempts and the refusal to provide emergency coronavirus relief funding. Additionally, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has introduced changes that have compromised services for small businesses, veterans, seniors, and rural communities that rely on mail for voting and essential goods.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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