Target: Senator Elizabeth Warren
Goal: Allow post offices to offer basic banking services
It is very expensive to be poor in this country, and predatory lending and lack of access to financial services is one of the big reasons why. About 68 million Americans are currently underserved by the banking industry, and are forced to turn to predatory check cashing and payday lending companies that exploit their desperation through gratuitous fees and outrageous interest rates. Rather than tailoring their services to cater to lower-income demographics, banks have instead removed branches from struggling neighborhoods and in many cases have chosen to fund payday lending companies, rather than try and compete with them. In 2012, low-income Americans collectively paid over $89 billion in unnecessary costs to these unscrupulous companies, just to be able to cash their paychecks and pay their bills.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is proposing an innovative new idea to increase access to banking services and decrease dependency on predatory lenders. By allowing post offices to offer basic financial services, like check cashing, bill paying, and small dollar loans, this proposal has the potential to save low-income households over $2,000 a year, while also benefiting the financially struggling United States Postal Service to the tune of $8.9 billion in additional annual income. Unlike payday lenders, the USPS is public and not beholden to shareholders, and unlike banks, post offices can be found in all neighborhoods and are accessible to everyone, regardless of income or housing status.
This proposal has been endorsed by the USPS Inspector General, and similar programs boast great success around the world, in countries as diverse as Kenya and Japan. Besides providing a potential pathway out of poverty for millions of Americans, this measure could also save jobs within the postal system, which is one of the largest job creators in the United States. We have the potential to increase social mobility in parts of the U.S. where poverty has become endemic, enhance economic security amongst the working poor, and ensure job security for hundreds of thousands of public employees. Please sign this petition to support Senator Warren’s postal banking proposal.
Dear Senator Warren,
The postal banking proposal is an uncommon opportunity to enhance the well-being of millions of Americans through simple, achievable measures. As you are well aware, this proposal would save low-income families an average of $2,000 per year. Unlike banks and predatory lenders, post offices can be found in all neighborhoods and are accessible to everyone, regardless of income or housing status.
Thank you for standing up for low-income families and fighting for economic opportunity and social justice. I hope that you will continue to push for this important initiative in Congress.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ben Franske via Wikimedia Commons