Let’s talk about USPS.
With federal desegregation in the early 1920s, the postal service became one of the first and largest opportunities for Black people to become a part of the middle class. Today, nearly 50% of postal workers are Black and brown folks. For the everyday Black worker, the postal service has represented the dignified, stable employment they deserve and are often refused elsewhere.
Last November, we launched our first-ever economic justice campaign known as #BlackLoveLetters. Through #BlackLoveLetters, we celebrated our historic contributions to the USPS by demanding that our legacy be protected. In this same campaign, we called on the federal government to ensure the long-term success of the USPS through programs such as postal banking — because postal banking would not only increase employment and revenue at the postal service, but also further economic justice by expanding access to secure banking in communities of color.
That’s why we’re beyond excited about the latest news: The United States Postal Service has recently rolled out a potentially transformative new service known as postal banking. In this new pilot program, USPS is providing select cities with financial services like check cashing up to $500 and receiving their money on a prepaid debit card.
Because the program is still in its pilot phase, the services offered are still very limited — but the program does open up an opportunity for the post office to meaningfully explore the feasibility of postal banking.
This is very good thing! Postal banking has the power to directly benefit Black and low-income families across the entire country.
Postal banking is a major step in addressing the unbanked population in the United States. In America, the folks that tend to not have bank accounts are Black people — especially those living in lower-income communities. They rely heavily on check-cashing stores to get money orders, cash checks, and pay their bills.
Postal banking is critical to closing the racial wealth gap and is long overdue. The program is now only taking place in 4 states — the scope is way too small in reach and not nearly expansive enough to let people know that the post office is even offering a new service.
We need to prove that postal banking is worth investing in and worth expanding throughout the entire country. Sign the petition urging USPS to quickly expand the postal banking pilot program beyond the current four states.
If USPS postal banking is permanently implemented, the program would provide people with cheaper and more reliable alternatives to predatory financial services like check cashing locations.
It’s no coincidence that we see check cashing places on every corner in lower income communities, rather than a typical bank or ATM machine. They charge high fees just for people to access their own money. The system has been designed to deliberately exploit and take advantage of the majority Black folks that live in those communities.
Postal banking is a solution. It’s the solution. This benefits Black people and Black communities immensely by providing affordable, accessible, and reliable financial services.
We need to see this program rolled out nationwide and for that to happen we must grow the pilot program beyond the current four states. Urge the USPS to move quickly to expand the postal banking pilot program by adding your name to the petition below.