Cummings Urges Passage of Legislation to Authorize Post Office to Offer Additional Financial Services
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 29, 2014)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, urged the House of Representatives to consider his bill, the Innovate to Deliver Act, to authorize the United States Postal Service to expand the services it offers, including a proposal that would generate billions of dollars of new revenue by authorizing the Postal Service to provide affordable financial products to millions of Americans currently underserved by the banking sector.
“This is a win-win that we can achieve quickly and at little cost,” Ranking Member Cummings said. “By authorizing the Postal Service to offer these financial services, millions of Americans could save billions of dollars on exorbitant fees and interest, while the Postal Service could obtain new revenue to improve its financial footing.”
A new White Paper issued by the Postal Service Inspector General on January 27, 2014 endorsed this concept and found that, because of its vast retail network, the Postal Service is “an ideal fit for offering non-bank financial services” that would “greatly complement banks’ offerings” to individuals who are not adequately served by current financial service providers.
The Inspector General’s paper found that the Postal Service could easily offer bill payment services, prepaid cards, and check-cashing services to approximately 68 million Americans who are currently underserved by the banking sector and who spent an estimated $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees to access these financial services.
The Inspector General also found that the Postal Service could receive up to $8.9 billion in new revenue each year if even 10% of current expenditures by individuals now considered “unbanked” were spent at the Post Office.
Ranking Member Cummings introduced H.R. 2690, the Innovate to Deliver Act, to authorize the Postal Service to expand its non-postal products and services, including check-cashing, public internet access, and warehousing services. The bill also would establish the position of Chief Innovation Officer to manage the development and implementation of these innovative services.