Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) introduced legislation last week that would allow the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to offer basic financial services, a plan proposed by the postal inspector general earlier this year.
The Providing Opportunities for Savings, Transactions and Lending Act—or POSTAL Act—would allow USPS to offer checking accounts, deposit funds into interest-bearing savings accounts and provide small-dollar loans, according to a press release on Richmond’s website.
Additionally, the bill would require USPS to offer customers a convenient “Postal Card” that works as a debit card and allows them to complete in-store, mobile and online transactions.
The USPS inspector general released a report at the beginning of the year that outlined the potential benefits of offering financial services to the public. The IG estimated that the postal service could bring in approximately $9 billion.
“In the New Orleans area alone, 181,000 households do not have access to a full range of financial services,” Richmond said. “These are primarily low-income households that are forced to pay exorbitant interest rates to predatory lenders in order to borrow. Allowing the Post Office to offer some basic financial services would save these households thousands of dollars every year, and put the USPS on more stable financial footing.”