How the Other Half Banks

October 9, 2015

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Mehrsa Baradaran

The APWU and the National Association of Letter Carriers hosted author Mehrsa Baradaran at the AFL-CIO on Oct. 7, where she spoke about her book, How the Other Half Banks. The event was held on behalf of the Campaign for Postal Banking.

Baradaran presented a spirited indictment of America’s banking system and made a compelling case for what she calls the clear, obvious solution: expanding USPS financial services to once again include postal banking – as it did until 1967.

“The United States has two separate banking systems today – one serving the well-to-do and another exploiting everyone else,” the book jacket says. 

“Baradaran examines how a significant portion of the population, deserted by banks, is forced to wander through a Wild West of payday lenders and check-cashing services to cover emergency expenses and pay for necessities – all thanks to deregulation that began in the 1970s and continues decades later….

“Baradaran proposes a solution: Re-enlisting the U.S. Post Office in its historic function of providing bank services. The post office played an important but largely forgotten role in the creation of American democracy, and it could be deployed again to level the field of financial opportunity.”

USPS Inspector General David Williams, AFL-CIO Vice President Tefere Gebre, NALC Chief of Staff Jim Sauber, and APWU President Mark Dimondstein also made brief remarks at the event and praised Baradaran’s work.

The author, a former Wall Street lawyer, is an associate law professor at the University of Georgia. The book, which was published by Harvard University Press, was reviewed in the New York Times the day before her talk. 

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