Can the post office be a bank?
February 10, 2014
Guests: Lisa Servon and Sheldon Garon
If you are poor in America, chances are greater that you donâ€™t have a bank account and instead rely on expensive cash-checking stores and high-interest pay-day loans for financial transactions. In fact, roughly 8 percent of U.S. households are â€śunbankedâ€ť and according to the a new report by the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service, â€śinterest and fees for alternative services costs them on average an extra $2,412 each year.â€ť Thatâ€™s why the Post Office has floated the idea of adding basic bill-paying, check cashing and small loans to the menu of services it provides. Could the plan work? Would it help poor people and save the cash-strapped Postal Service at the same time? In this hour of Radio Times, weâ€™ll talk about it with New School professor LISA SERVON who has written extensively about the financial lives of low-income families and Princeton professor SHELDON GARON who has studied postal banking in the U.S. and overseas.