File photo of the Waterbury post office on Grand Street in Waterbury. File this under Excellent Ideas That Should Definitely Happen But Probably Won’t. Recently, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, introduced legislation to create a Postal Bank, empowering the nation’s vast network of post offices to offer checking and savings accounts, and to provide low-interest short-term loans. There are three things to really like here: It would be cool having an alternative to private banks that all too often prove themselves no friend of customers. Banking services would be a financial lifeline for the U.S. Postal Service, which has been defenestrated by email and digital communications. This could spell doom for bottom-feeding payday lenders. “I think this is such an elegant fix for complex problems,” Gillibrand told me, “particularly payday lending.” She said millions of Americans become trapped every year in never-ending debt cycles by lenders charging annual interest rates of as much as 400 percent. “Congress has the ability to wipe out these predatory practices right now by creating a Postal Bank that would be accessible to everyone,” Gillibrand said. One reason I embrace this idea is because I had a postal savings account when I lived… Read full this story
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