No wonder the U.S. Postal Service came out so strongly against the proposal earlier this year for it to develop banking services aimed at poorer people generally shunned by commercial banks.
Mickey Barnett, a recent nominee to its Board of Governors is a lobbyist for the payday loan industry.
This is important because a new postal banking system, or more accurately, the revival of a postal banking system would benefit this group which is too often victimized by unscrupulous payday lenders and other usurious entities, according to the U.S. Inspector General’s Office https://www.uspsoig.gov/story/white-papers/examining-road-ahead-postal-financial-services#.VYGQLIVTN_M.
Already, Barnett’s nomination has run into opposition from the Leadership Conference, an organization of civil and human rights groups, according to the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/dont-put-privatizer-and-p_b_8245300.html.
This organization (http://www.civilrights.org/, also opposes the nomination of James Miller, a longtime postal privatization advocate and former member of the libertarian Cato Institute.
Right now, the USPS offers money orders, electronic funds transfers, and the cashing of U.S. Treasury checks. Widening its services could bring in as much as $1.1 billion a year after five years, the USPSOIG argues.
These new services could include payroll check cashing, domestic money transfers between post offices, bill payment services, international money transfers to more countries, and other affordable products.
This latest USPSOIG paper follows a 2014 report encouraging the postal service to start offering financial services to as many as 68 million people who typically don’t have access to conventional banking services in their neighborhoods https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2014/rarc-wp-14-007.pdf. All too often, these people are forced to rely on such abusive and exorbitant operators as payday lenders and pawn shops.
But how could the postal service go in this direction if the deck is stacked against it with the likes of Barnett and Miller on the BOG?
And how likely will the Republican-dominated be willing to vote in favor of plans that benefit disadvantaged people over powerful financial interests, even if it could make the deficit-ridden USPS more solvent?
Obviously they want to further the cause of postal privatization.
The Senate is set to confirm these nominations soon. It remains to be seen if they public can muster any opposition against them.