Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Post Office Could Be Your Neighborhood Bank

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – We know the U.S. Post Office is bleeding money. And no one seems to have an idea to fix it other than cutting services. And as we’ve learned, there’s little appetite for that in Washington, D.C.

So the Postal Service’s Inspector General is embracing one of the more original ideas that have come up – one that would radically change the mission of the Post Office to offer basic banking services like bill paying, check cashing and small loans.

(Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

The Inspector General’s Office issued a report showing just how badly these services are needed by lower income families.

They found about 68 million Americans – more than a quarter of all households – do not have a checking or savings account. And as a result, those households spend about 10-percent of their annual income on financial services at companies that are not banks. Think of the check cashing operation on the corner.

Supporters of this concept say we already have the bricks and mortar and employees to make this happen.

It’s unclear how this will play on Capitol Hill, but the idea already has one supporter in Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

She wrote a column about this in the Huffington Post and says she plans to spend a lot of time on working on the issue – pointing to similar experiments in other countries that have been successful.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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