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Postal Banking Would Help Low-Income Consumers

Statement of Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Today, the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee is holding a hearing on the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service. Public Citizen submitted written testimony to the committee supporting the Postal Service offering expanded financial services, including postal banking.

At a time when traditional banks are closing branches in low-income ZIP codes, the U.S. Postal Service can and should provide needed financial services within its ubiquitous post offices. Not only would postal banking improve the financial health of the Postal Service, it would provide a welcome oasis for consumers currently in banking deserts.

It’s expensive to be poor. People with $25,000 incomes spend 10 percent of that on financial services such as payday loans – the same proportion the average person spends on food. Small dollar loans at reasonable rates from postal banking could fix this injustice.