The Postal Service overhaul plan released by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy does not directly mention postal banking services, but it does offer a vision where the post office “will become a one-stop shop for a wide range of government services” and will offer “comprehensive small business services to bridge local retailers to local buyers” in a variety of ways.
Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) intends to introduce his “Banking for All Act” again this year. It would allow anyone to set up a free bank account at a bank, credit union or Post Office. The bank account, known as a FedAccount, would serve as a digital wallet and would solve the problem of delivering stimulus payments and tax credits to citizens who do not now have bank accounts.
In the closing minutes of a hearing on the United States Postal Service this Wednesday, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) brought up the suggestion that postal banking could help the post office recover financially while also helping serve those who do not have access to traditional banks.
In an open letter to the new Congress, Rebeca Romero Rainey, the president/CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, outlined the current priorities of community bankers, including a request that Congress re-examine the credit union tax exemption.
Congress is preparing to pass legislation that contains a $12 billion set-aside for the Community Development Financial Institutions program, and extensions of the Paycheck Protection Program, the Troubled Debt Restructuring provisions, and the pandemic-related provisions of the National Credit Union Administration’s Central Liquidity Facility. Congress is combining the coronavirus economic stimulus bill and the FY21 omnibus appropriations measure into one bill totally 5,593 pages.
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced S.4614, legislation that would permit banking services in post offices. The services would include ATMs, low-cost checking accounts, low-cost savings accounts and low-interest loans.
The Senate returns this week and the House will return next week. There is still much to be done and it is unlikely that Congress will get to everything related to credit unions before the election. Here is a summary of the decisions and legislation that remain.
Charging that any postal banking deal between the U.S. Postal Service and JPMorgan Chase would be an invitation for corruption, the trade group representing the nation’s community banks on Monday asked the Postal Regulatory Commission to investigate reports of such a deal.
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.
The House on Friday passed an FY21 spending measure that would increase Community Development Financial Institutions funding by $11.5 million and set aside $2 million for a pilot test of postal banking.
Voting 217-197, the House passed H.R. 7617, which combines six of the annual appropriations bills, including the Financial Services spending measure.