The Canadian Postal Workers Union is renewing calls to create a national postal bank.
Many developed countries around the world, including the UK, France and New Zealand, have post offices that also offer banking services. Supporters of the idea think it would be a great use of Canada Post’s infrastructure.
Local Union President Tami Brushey says there are hundreds of small towns with a post office and no bank, particularly in the north. The Union points to research from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that shows the big banks closing branches in small town Canada.
“We are thinking about chequings and savings accounts, loans and insurance. It would be great if people had options other than those predatory payday lenders that are increasingly going after people in financial trouble.”
She says it would also help the Crown corporation diversify its revenue sources moving forward. Canada Post reportedly studied the idea in depth, although most of report has never seen the light of day. A heavily redacted version of the report was eventually made public through a Freedom of Information Request.
“Canada Post did their own inquiries into postal banking and found that it would be a win-win for Canada Post itself and then they buried that report when Harper was elected and all talk of postal banking ceased at that time.” Brushey said
Supporters of the idea say the move would create more competition in the Canadian banking industry and drive down fees. Canadians pay some of the steepest fees to access their money in the world.
The Canadian Bankers Association has panned the plan, saying there is no need for it as 99% of Canadians have a bank account.