Banks Should Team Up with the USPS To Extend Their Reach
At a time when questions around the stability of two of the country’s major institutions, the U.S. Postal Service and traditional consumer banks, are at an all-time high, PaymentsSource points to a potential solution: Allow banks to compete to bring banking services to post offices around the country.
The authors recognize the undoubted opposition many would have to U.S. government involvement in a largely private institution — but that is not the recommendation. They suggest a hybrid model in which post offices that meet certain criteria are allowed to provide a handful of basic banking services. Banks would apply for the opportunity to provide services, and use their branding for marketing purposes, at USPS locations strategic to the bank. Post office employees could be cross-trained to provide both postal and basic banking services.
Unconventional times call for unconventional approaches.
McGuffin sees great potential in this novel solution. There are more physical USPS branches (approximately 35,000) than any other U.S. retailer. Just like we see branded ATMs and Amazon Lockers in major grocery chains and convenience stores, banks may find it advantageous to deliver a suite of services at a retail location already central to a community.
Banks have long been criticized for not properly serving rural and inner-city communities. Setting up banking services in the local USPS could allow underserved communities convenient access, and eliminate a bank’s need to secure separate, dedicated real estate. Despite the potential complexities, access via the local USPS could provide banks the opportunity for expansion and exposure to new customers. And it could provide community members with a much valued service in a familiar destination. Sometimes, strange bedfellows end up making a good match.