Credit union trade groups and Senate Banking Committee ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio lambasted the U.S. Postal Service for considering allowing JPMorgan Chase to offer banking services in post offices.
“Millions of Americans don’t have access to the financial services they need because big banks like JPMorgan Chase make it too expensive for working families to get a bank account,” Brown said Thursday.
“Asking the Postal Service to provide banking services is a bad idea that will certainly fail to improve consumers’ financial well-being, but opening post office lobbies to a Wall Street bank to provide these services is even worse,” said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan.
The Capitol Forum, a news organization, reported Wednesday that JPMorgan and the Postal Service have had preliminary discussions about allowing the largest bank in the U.S. to offer banking services in post offices as part of a pilot program.
The Postal Service has been the focus of a huge amount of attention recently, as it struggles with financial problems and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy institutes cutbacks that Democrats have charged will make it more difficult for voters to vote by mail.
Many Democrats have said that allowing post offices to offer banking services would allow people who do not have ready access to banks and credit unions to obtain financial services. They have said that such a plan also could raise much-needed revenue for the Postal Service.
However, Brown, who has introduced postal banking legislation, said that allowing JPMorgan Chase to offer banking services in post offices is a bad idea. Brown’s legislation would authorize the Federal Reserve to establish banking services at post offices in areas where access to bank branches is limited.
“What JPMorgan Chase wants to do looks like another attempt for big banks and corporations to privatize our public infrastructure so their shareholders gain while working families suffer,” he said.
NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger agreed. “Allowing Wall Street mega banks free-reign to solicit customers from community post offices would amount to nothing more than a power grab aimed at bolstering profits,” he said.
Berger and Donovan said the best way to increase banking access to people is to allow credit unions to do it.
“Policymakers hellbent on using the space in the post office to deliver financial services need to understand that the only way to do that safely and soundly in a manner that benefits consumers and improves their financial well-being would be to partner with credit unions,” Donovan said.
“Policymakers should advance policies that allow not-for-profit, member-owned credit unions to serve more underserved populations,” Berger said,
The policy platform being considered at this week’s Democratic National Convention mentions postal banking as an option. The House version of the FY21 Financial Services appropriations measure would establish a pilot program to test postal banking.