Let Postbanking Help Close the Racial Wealth Gap, by Nicole Ndumele | Columnists


The US Postal Service recently launched a pilot post banking program that allows customers to cash up to $ 500 in payrolls and business checks in four cities: Washington, Baltimore, Bronx, and Falls Church, Virginia. This humble pilot is the foundation for broader planned post banking services that could include bill payment services, ATM access, and money order and remittance functions, all of which would provide critical financial services to millions of people excluded from banking services that affect the economic security and wellbeing of many Promote Americans.

Local bank branches close in communities across the country, and mainstream banks do not provide financial services that meet the needs of many communities, particularly low-income, rural, and black and Latin American communities. As a result, too many people are forced to turn to exploitative payday lending services, which charge exorbitant fees and interest rates on the most basic financial services, including cashing a paycheck.

Robust post banking, which should ultimately include checking and savings accounts and credit options, could step in and provide fair, accessible, and affordable financial services to people who do not have access to traditional banking services and who otherwise turn to high-cost, low-quality fringe financial institutions.

An alarming number of Americans – more than 60 million people – either have no bank account (i.e. no checking or savings account) or no bank account (i.e. use of products and services outside of mainstream banks such as check cashers and payday lenders). One in five Americans who do not have a bank account can afford the fees for financial services the least, but pay the highest costs to get their money. Small bank accounts have an average annual income of $ 25,000 and typically spend about 10% of their income on fees and interest for secondary financial institutions just to get their money – an amount equivalent to the average annual household on groceries.


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