Advocating for Postal Banking in the U.S. and Canada

April 2, 2019

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(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

As was previously reported in the American Postal Worker, the Canadian government forced striking Canadian Union of Postal Workers back to work at Canada Post late last year through an act of parliament. CUPW begins 2019 in contract arbitration to resolve the ongoing dispute with Canada Post.

Heading into contract arbitration, postal workers aren’t just discussing pay and benefits – the union is using the forum to advocate for postal banking in Canada as well. The union sees postal banking as a critical step in developing a more equal society in Canada.

Postal banking gets a boost in new Congress; among Presidential candidates

As new members of the U.S. Congress took their seats in January, and the 2020 presidential campaign opened up with a flurry of hopefuls announcing their candidacy, postal banking has garnered more attention in the changing political landscape.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly-elected Democratic Congresswoman from NY-14 (The Bronx and Queens) earned a high-profile committee assignment when she was placed on the House Financial Services Committee. Upon learning of her committee assignment, Ocasio-Cortez – who has met with APWU members in the New York Metro Area Postal Union and signed their petition supporting postal banking in the Bronx – tweeted, “Personally, I’m looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public & postal banking. To start.”

Furthermore, a number of elected officials and likely 2020 presidential candidates previously supported postal banking initiatives. As more candidates kick off their campaigns, postal banking advocates should keep an eye on where the candidates fall on the issue.

Wells Fargo Critics Say Bank Has Unresolved Issues after Account Fraud Scandal

In 2016, reports surfaced that Wells Fargo had fraudulently created checking and savings accounts for clients without their consent. The scandal, which occurred after account managers and branch workers were pressured by higher management to constantly sell new products to existing clients, cast the banking giant into a years-long public relations nightmare. While facing congressional investigation and several regulatory fines, Wells Fargo embarked on a campaign to regain the public’s trust.

However, critics allege that much of the bank’s commitment to reform has been hollow. The Committee for Better Banks (CBB) – an organization of bank workers, community and consumer advocacy organization groups, and various labor unions – reacted to a recent report from Wells Fargo, saying the bank continues to have “a toxic environment and culture of fear, a lack of accountability among executives and persistent low pay” for frontline staff.

“In particular, frontline bank workers still fear retaliation if they speak out publicly about Wells Fargo’s continued abuses and deception,” the CBB statement noted.

“The Wells Fargo fiasco proves that the big banks refuse to clean up their act,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “And it’s no surprise why – they’re committed to big profits and big returns for their shareholders, not what’s in the interests of their clients or the public. The time has come for a real financial alternative in this country. The Postal Service can do the job.”

The Campaign for Postal Banking is a coalition of consumer, worker, financial reform, economic justice, community, civic, and faith-based organizations calling for low-cost, consumerdriven financial services via the Postal Service. Products and services could include check cashing, bill payment, savings accounts and small-dollar loans. Postal Banking will benefit consumers without access to traditional banks as well as those who want a public option. The expansion of services would also strengthen our public Postal Service. To learn more, visit

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