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skaboomizzy
Nov 12, 2003

I got somewhere I gotta be so... call it. Come on. Call it. Come on. Call it. Call it. Come on. Seriously. Call it.

Elizabeth Warren has written a piece for HuffPo (quoted below) that puts forth the question of the Post Office providing some basic financial services such as check-cashing, bill paying, and small, short-term loans. The whole thing is worth a read, but the main points are that nations that have done this have shown major revenue increases in their postal services and that people "underserved" (aka "not accepted") by the banking industry lose up to 10% of their annual income dealing with fees associated with cashing their checks and paying their bills. This is before we even get into the usurious interest rates involved with payday lenders.

I think it's a fascinating idea since a lot of the infrastructure for this is already in place, and all it would take is for each Post Office to find a bank willing to partner with them within terms set by the federal government. I also think it has no chance in hell of happening with this Congress because poor people can't hire lobbyists. That said, I still would like to talk about the pros and cons to the USPS branching out to provide some basic financial services like this. They already sell money orders, it couldn't be that much of a stretch to expand their services this far, right?

Elizabeth Warren posted:

According to a report put out this week by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Postal Service, about 68 million Americans -- more than a quarter of all households -- have no checking or savings account and are underserved by the banking system. Collectively, these households spent about $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees for non-bank financial services like payday loans and check cashing, which works out to an average of $2,412 per household. That means the average underserved household spends roughly 10 percent of its annual income on interest and fees -- about the same amount they spend on food.

Think about that: about 10 percent of a family's income just to manage getting checks cashed, bills paid, and, sometimes, a short-term loan to tide them over. That's more than a full month's income just to try to navigate the basics.

The poor pay more, and that's one of the reasons people get trapped at the bottom of the economic ladder.

But it doesn't have to be this way. In the same remarkable report this week, the OIG explored the possibility of the USPS offering basic banking services -- bill paying, check cashing, small loans -- to its customers. With post offices and postal workers already on the ground, USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don't have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods.

Families rely on financial services more than ever, but those who need them most -- who struggle to make ends meet -- too often must contend with sky-high interest rates and tricks and traps buried in the fine print of their loan products.

This is not a new problem, and policymakers in Washington have long sounded the alarm. Michael Barr -- an assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Obama and law professor at University of Michigan -- has pushed on this issue for years. As Chair of the FDIC, Sheila Bair put in place a Committee on Economic Inclusion to generate ideas for expanding access to lower-cost banking services. (I had the honor of serving as a committee member.) And we've taken some important steps forward. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), for example, is a cop on the beat that is putting in place commonsense rules to protect consumers and ensure that payday lenders are held accountable when they break the law.

There has been momentum in the right direction, but there is so much more work to do to make sure that families have access to affordable and fair financial services.

That is why the OIG report is so interesting. If the Postal Service offered basic banking services -- nothing fancy, just basic bill paying, check cashing and small dollar loans -- then it could provide affordable financial services for underserved families, and, at the same time, shore up its own financial footing. (The postal services in many other countries, it turns out, have taken steps in this direction and seen their earnings increase dramatically.) The report has provoked a great deal of discussion, and it is worth reading David Dayen's article about it at the New Republic -- "The Post Office Should Just Become a Bank: How Obama can save USPS and ding check-cashing joints."

The Postal Service is huge -- employing more than a half million people -- and its history is long and complicated. Any change will take time. But this is an issue I am going to spend a lot of time working on -- and I hope my colleagues join me. We need innovative ways to create pathways for struggling families to build economic security, and this is an idea that falls in that category.

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Bastard Tetris
Apr 27, 2005
L-Shaped

Didn't the post office do something like that previously?

OneThousandMonkeys
Oct 9, 2005

The Strangest Vengeance Ever Planned

skaboomizzy posted:

Elizabeth Warren has written a piece for HuffPo (quoted below) that puts forth the question of the Post Office providing some basic financial services such as check-cashing, bill paying, and small, short-term loans. The whole thing is worth a read, but the main points are that nations that have done this have shown major revenue increases in their postal services and that people "underserved" (aka "not accepted") by the banking industry lose up to 10% of their annual income dealing with fees associated with cashing their checks and paying their bills. This is before we even get into the usurious interest rates involved with payday lenders.

I think it's a fascinating idea since a lot of the infrastructure for this is already in place, and all it would take is for each Post Office to find a bank willing to partner with them within terms set by the federal government. I also think it has no chance in hell of happening with this Congress because poor people can't hire lobbyists. That said, I still would like to talk about the pros and cons to the USPS branching out to provide some basic financial services like this. They already sell money orders, it couldn't be that much of a stretch to expand their services this far, right?

A banking lobby that wants to get in on this can theoretically do an end-run around Republican intransigence by greasing the Republicans' wheels.

68 million Americans without a bank account is an incredible number.

Quantum Mechanic
Apr 25, 2010

Just another fuckwit who thrives on fake moral outrage.
Waaaah the Christians are out to get me

lol abbottsgonnawin

Australia Post offers similar services, although they were far more extensive when we also owned the Commonwealth Bank. It works quite well.

Foma
Oct 1, 2004
Hello, My name is Lip Synch. Right now, I'm making a post that is anti-bush or something Micheal Moore would be proud of because I and the rest of my team lefty friends (koba1t included) need something to circle jerk to.

I don't like the idea of loaning money. Not that it is a bad idea in theory, but whenever the government lets people get in debt, when it comes to paying them back elected officials get squishy. Look at the push on student loans.

I do like the check cashing and Billpay. We should have let WalMart become a bank in the early 2000s. I think that was a misstep for how the poor could have gotten access to relatively affordable banking services.

OneThousandMonkeys
Oct 9, 2005

The Strangest Vengeance Ever Planned

Foma posted:

I don't like the idea of loaning money. Not that it is a bad idea in theory, but whenever the government lets people get in debt, when it comes to paying them back elected officials get squishy. Look at the push on student loans.

I do like the check cashing and Billpay. We should have let WalMart become a bank in the early 2000s. I think that was a misstep for how the poor could have gotten access to relatively affordable banking services.

"Relatively affordable banking services" is "go to a credit union," unless I'm missing something.

Foma
Oct 1, 2004
Hello, My name is Lip Synch. Right now, I'm making a post that is anti-bush or something Micheal Moore would be proud of because I and the rest of my team lefty friends (koba1t included) need something to circle jerk to.

OneThousandMonkeys posted:

"Relatively affordable banking services" is "go to a credit union," unless I'm missing something.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAKJKBCyPUY

Arakan
May 10, 2008

After some persuasion, Fluttershy finally opens up, and Twilight's more than happy to oblige in doing her best performance as a nice, obedient wolf-puppy.

OneThousandMonkeys posted:

"Relatively affordable banking services" is "go to a credit union," unless I'm missing something.

Do credit unions let non members cash checks for minimal fees? Because that's really the main thing people need. They don't have a bank account so they get their check in hand every 2 weeks and need somewhere to cash it that isn't going to charge a lot of fees.

skaboomizzy
Nov 12, 2003

I got somewhere I gotta be so... call it. Come on. Call it. Come on. Call it. Call it. Come on. Seriously. Call it.

It's also worth noting that if you work a low-wage job at a big corporation (Hello, Wal-Mart and McDonald's!) and cannot get a checking account, your employer will be happy to provide you with a debit card that has onerous monthly fees and charges per transaction. If you happen to work two low-wage jobs, you can get hit twice with this while trying to juggle multiple debit card balances.

Foma posted:

I don't like the idea of loaning money. Not that it is a bad idea in theory, but whenever the government lets people get in debt, when it comes to paying them back elected officials get squishy. Look at the push on student loans.

I do like the check cashing and Billpay. We should have let WalMart become a bank in the early 2000s. I think that was a misstep for how the poor could have gotten access to relatively affordable banking services.

Given the exploitation that WalMart has shown toward their workers and suppliers, I assume they would have been just slightly less terrible than pay-day lenders at providing banking services. I am also on the fence about the small short-term loans, but I think overall the pros outweigh the cons. Set a cap at $800, require a pay stub, and make it clear the USPS will send offenders to the IRS for garnishment if they default.

Foma
Oct 1, 2004
Hello, My name is Lip Synch. Right now, I'm making a post that is anti-bush or something Micheal Moore would be proud of because I and the rest of my team lefty friends (koba1t included) need something to circle jerk to.

skaboomizzy posted:

Given the exploitation that WalMart has shown toward their workers and suppliers, I assume they would have been just slightly less terrible than pay-day lenders at providing banking services. I am also on the fence about the small short-term loans, but I think overall the pros outweigh the cons. Set a cap at $800, require a pay stub, and make it clear the USPS will send offenders to the IRS for garnishment if they default.

I think your looking at it wrong. Bank Wal-Mart would do to pay-day and check cashing spots what they did to Mom and Pop stores. WalMart squeezes workers and competitors, their customers don't have it that bad. depositors would be Wal-Marts customers. I disagree with slightly less terrible pay-day and would go with much better than pay-day loans, which still squeeze poor people. Progress

icantfindaname
Jul 1, 2008



Foma posted:

I think your looking at it wrong. Bank Wal-Mart would do to pay-day and check cashing spots what they did to Mom and Pop stores. WalMart squeezes workers and competitors, their customers don't have it that bad. depositors would be Wal-Marts customers. I disagree with slightly less terrible pay-day and would go with much better than pay-day loans, which still squeeze poor people. Progress

Why do you think Wal-Mart's banking services would be any different from a payday loan store?

skaboomizzy
Nov 12, 2003

I got somewhere I gotta be so... call it. Come on. Call it. Come on. Call it. Call it. Come on. Seriously. Call it.

Slightly off-topic, so I can double-post:

Even if I pay bills online from my home, I still get hit with fees. Duke Energy charges me $2.50 to pay my power bill online, but it's more if I pay by phone. City of St. Pete charges me $2 to pay my water/sewage/trash bill online. My car insurance won't charge me extra for paying online from home, but it'll be an extra $2 if I go to the local bill-pay place and there's a three-business-day delay.

If I go to a bill-pay place, I get those fees PLUS another couple of bucks PLUS it takes an additional couple of days for the payment to jump through all the hoops, so god help me if I'm late.

Foma posted:

I think your looking at it wrong. Bank Wal-Mart would do to pay-day and check cashing spots what they did to Mom and Pop stores. WalMart squeezes workers and competitors, their customers don't have it that bad. depositors would be Wal-Marts customers. I disagree with slightly less terrible pay-day and would go with much better than pay-day loans, which still squeeze poor people. Progress

WalMart is concerned with making as much money as possible. If that means they are only slightly less barbaric regarding a hypothetical quasi-bank status, that's what they'll do. It's still far worse than what working people deserve. 20% less usurious is still usurious. Maybe they'll only charge 6% for putting a paycheck on a debit card, but the transaction fee goes from $.75 to .85 and they cash in.

The working poor are the most exploited class in America.

Arakan
May 10, 2008

After some persuasion, Fluttershy finally opens up, and Twilight's more than happy to oblige in doing her best performance as a nice, obedient wolf-puppy.

icantfindaname posted:

Why do you think Wal-Mart's banking services would be any different from a payday loan store?

Because they would charge lower fees presumably

Foma
Oct 1, 2004
Hello, My name is Lip Synch. Right now, I'm making a post that is anti-bush or something Micheal Moore would be proud of because I and the rest of my team lefty friends (koba1t included) need something to circle jerk to.

quote:

Why do you think Wal-Mart's banking services would be any different from a payday loan store?

Because Pay-Day loans are a virus that kills the host, Wal-Mart is a bacteria that keeps its host alive and feeds off them over the long term. That is their business model.

skaboomizzy posted:

Slightly off-topic, so I can double-post:

WalMart is concerned with making as much money as possible. If that means they are only slightly less barbaric regarding a hypothetical quasi-bank status, that's what they'll do. It's still far worse than what working people deserve. 20% less usurious is still usurious. Maybe they'll only charge 6% for putting a paycheck on a debit card, but the transaction fee goes from $.75 to .85 and they cash in.

The working poor are the most exploited class in America.

It is true they get the poo poo end of the stick. It is also true that offering banking services to them isn't going to be profitable unless it exploits them somewhat. This includes Post Offices.

Foma fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 07:09

Honj Steak
May 31, 2013

Hi there.


German "Postbank" is only known for having horrible customer service, but not for being concerned with the poor.

icantfindaname
Jul 1, 2008



Foma posted:

Because Pay-Day loans are a virus that kills the host, Wal-Mart is a bacteria that keeps its host alive and feeds off them over the long term. That is their business model.

Payday loan customers aren't dying en masse last I was aware. This description of Walmart fits the payday loan industry word for word. This isn't an explanation at all of them being different.

quote:

It is true they get the poo poo end of the stick. It is also true that offering banking services to them isn't going to be profitable unless it exploits them somewhat. This includes Post Offices.

Post Office loans would not necessarily be profitable, or at the very least the level of profit could be controlled. That's the entire point.

Arakan
May 10, 2008

After some persuasion, Fluttershy finally opens up, and Twilight's more than happy to oblige in doing her best performance as a nice, obedient wolf-puppy.

icantfindaname posted:

Post Office loans would not necessarily be profitable,

Maybe you missed this point in the article in the OP

Elizabeth Warren posted:

then it could provide affordable financial services for underserved families, and, at the same time, shore up its own financial footing. (The postal services in many other countries, it turns out, have taken steps in this direction and seen their earnings increase dramatically.)

The USPS is still losing money every quarter. This would be as much a move to increase USPS revenues as it would be to offer cheaper alternatives for banking to the working poor. If they won't make money from it then it has no chance of being implemented.

Foma
Oct 1, 2004
Hello, My name is Lip Synch. Right now, I'm making a post that is anti-bush or something Micheal Moore would be proud of because I and the rest of my team lefty friends (koba1t included) need something to circle jerk to.

icantfindaname posted:

Payday loan customers aren't dying en masse last I was aware. This description of Walmart fits the payday loan industry word for word. This isn't an explanation at all of them being different.
I wasn't being literal, most people don't financially recover from payday loans, also Wal-Mart would be offering BANK services, like direct deposit, billpay, savings, interest rates, all things the poor don't have easy access to (see youtube posted above)

quote:

Post Office loans would not necessarily be profitable, or at the very least the level of profit could be controlled. That's the entire point.

I am not sure of your point, the Post Office should be revenue neutral? Or that it should offer loans at a lower than market rate so they can't make as much profit? Being a bank is hard, being a bank for poor people at and being profitable (or break even) is almost impossible. I wouldn't trust the Post Office to manage it.

A fair question is Why do I think Wal-Mart could do it. For 3 reasons, Wal-Mart could take on a low revenue venture to drive traffic to their stores, basically banking can be a loss leader for shopping, two Wal-Mart employees so many people handle just employee banking will help reduce a number of fees Wal-Mart has to deal with to payroll done, and third is a history of competent management.

Foma fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 08:21

icantfindaname
Jul 1, 2008



Arakan posted:

Maybe you missed this point in the article in the OP


The USPS is still losing money every quarter. This would be as much a move to increase USPS revenues as it would be to offer cheaper alternatives for banking to the working poor. If they won't make money from it then it has no chance of being implemented.

It stands no chance of being implemented in the current climate either way, because it's a thing done by a government entity, which means it's the literal embodiment of statist communism.

Foma posted:

I wasn't being literal, most people don't financially recover from payday loans, also Wal-Mart would be offering BANK services, like direct deposit, billpay, savings, interest rates, all things the poor don't have easy access to (see youtube posted above)


I am not sure of your point, the Post Office should be revenue neutral? Or that it should offer loans at a lower than market rate so they can't make as much profit? Being a bank is hard, being a bank for poor people at and being profitable (or break even) is almost impossible. I wouldn't trust the Post Office to manage it.

The reason banking services aren't available to the poor is because it's not profitable to offer them. There's no reason walmart would offer them where regular banks aren't already.

I'm just saying the point of a postal bank is to offer unprofitable banking services to poor people, because that's a thing that should be available to people, profit or no.

icantfindaname fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 08:23

agarjogger
May 16, 2011


The degree to which people flatly ignore Republican propaganda is kind of heartening. The post office bank would see massive use.

gloom
Feb 1, 2003
distracted from distraction by distraction

The postal service in Taiwan is also a full service bank, they even offer debit cards with a Visa logo and life insurance policies. I had an account with them for a while. It was comparable to any other bank here and in some ways better than most banks, e.g. the post office didn't require a Taiwanese co-signer before issuing me a debit card. I can't comment on fees because the ones for ATM use and wire transfers are all regulated to the same reasonable level here.

It seems unlikely the banking lobby would let the USPS do this in a way that is actually helpful to poor people. Most likely you'd end up with some bullshit "partnership" with private sector banks that allows them to chisel poor people in exciting new ways. Still, I'm glad someone influential is at least considering the possibility.

Freakazoid_
Jul 4, 2013


Arakan posted:

Do credit unions let non members cash checks for minimal fees? Because that's really the main thing people need. They don't have a bank account so they get their check in hand every 2 weeks and need somewhere to cash it that isn't going to charge a lot of fees.

My impression of credit unions is that each one is different. The general vibe has been they are great about not docking you through fees, but I don't know how often that extends to cashing checks.

I have an account with Boeing Employees Credit Union, which despite the name, is open to anyone living in Washington state. As long as you meet that requirement, or have a relation to either the boeing company or a relative who works for the company, it only costs 5 dollars to open an account, and I think you can get that $5 back if you decide to close. Checking is definitely free and they have no other fees that I've seen. Their only drawback has been a lack of convenient branches and ATMs, which might pose a problem for poorer people.

Teddybear
May 16, 2009

The Corgiest Teddybear



It's well and good to say that "oh, everyone should just join a credit union," but how widespread are they across the country? A lack of a unifying marketing campaign to bring awareness of the benefits of a credit union doesn't help either. I recall that the Church of England was planning on partnering with local credit unions in the neighborhoods of their churches to provide low-interest short-term loans with the explicit goal of driving payday lenders out of business. While a post office bank probably can't explicitly say that they want to compete payday lenders out of business, it would be fantastic if they could.

The fact that we don't use post offices for more is a waste of resources. We already have a dedicated building for customer-focused federal services in virtually every community in the nation. I've heard proposals not only for a post office bank, but for using the post office network as a backbone for a nationwide low-to-no-cost broadband network-- in theory allowing the post office to continue in its original role as a method of political communication and information.

OneThousandMonkeys
Oct 9, 2005

The Strangest Vengeance Ever Planned

Teddybear posted:

It's well and good to say that "oh, everyone should just join a credit union," but how widespread are they across the country? A lack of a unifying marketing campaign to bring awareness of the benefits of a credit union doesn't help either. I recall that the Church of England was planning on partnering with local credit unions in the neighborhoods of their churches to provide low-interest short-term loans with the explicit goal of driving payday lenders out of business. While a post office bank probably can't explicitly say that they want to compete payday lenders out of business, it would be fantastic if they could.

The fact that we don't use post offices for more is a waste of resources. We already have a dedicated building for customer-focused federal services in virtually every community in the nation. I've heard proposals not only for a post office bank, but for using the post office network as a backbone for a nationwide low-to-no-cost broadband network-- in theory allowing the post office to continue in its original role as a method of political communication and information.

Like everything else about personal finance, common sense isn't common, either. I can't think of any significant fees associated with opening a checking account at a credit union other than maybe buying checks, and yet there are 68 million people with no account whatsoever. Now obviously not having a credit union isn't their first problem, but unless the infrastructure is that different in various places, then "people who don't have a bank account" is in essence a fictitious problem shared by 68 million people. Perhaps because they have too little money (likely), perhaps because they think it will be like a major bank and you will get a poor tax for having too little money in your account or for trying to move anything around ever.

It's scratching the surface of living like "the other half."

trash squad
Oct 21, 2013



OneThousandMonkeys posted:

Like everything else about personal finance, common sense isn't common, either. I can't think of any significant fees associated with opening a checking account at a credit union other than maybe buying checks, and yet there are 68 million people with no account whatsoever. Now obviously not having a credit union isn't their first problem, but unless the infrastructure is that different in various places, then "people who don't have a bank account" is in essence a fictitious problem shared by 68 million people. Perhaps because they have too little money (likely), perhaps because they think it will be like a major bank and you will get a poor tax for having too little money in your account or for trying to move anything around ever.

It's scratching the surface of living like "the other half."

I think it's worth noting - from a different source, here: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/20...ncial-services/

quote:

"America’s post offices are an ideal physical infrastructure for furnishing these services to communities currently neglected by banks. Roughly six in 10 post offices nationwide are in what the USPS report calls “bank deserts” — zip codes with either one or zero bank branches."

Now, as for the 'bank deserts', it doesn't specify if credit unions were counted. That being said, it does indicate that lack of availability could be a large part of a problem, rather than a lack of common sense. That post offices are already built & staffed also a benefit here.

Also, just for sake of conversation - worth noting that USPS had a deposit system until 1967:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United..._Savings_System

The establishment of FDIC made it largely obsolete, but it existed to fill a different need than Warren's proposal.

e: corrected some bad grammar.

trash squad fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 19:45

Bastard Tetris
Apr 27, 2005
L-Shaped

^^^^^ That's what I was thinking of, I couldn't remember the name. Simple low-fee banking services would be a godsend for someone living paycheck to paycheck.

NihilismNow
Aug 31, 2003

Chief Quality Inspector of Donner Kebab & Coffee Inc.


icantfindaname posted:

It stands no chance of being implemented in the current climate either way, because it's a thing done by a government entity, which means it's the literal embodiment of statist communism.


The reason banking services aren't available to the poor is because it's not profitable to offer them. There's no reason walmart would offer them where regular banks aren't already.

I'm just saying the point of a postal bank is to offer unprofitable banking services to poor people, because that's a thing that should be available to people, profit or no.

Is this really the case? Over here most mainstream banks will let anyone with valid ID open up a bankaccount. They heavily advertise with bank accounts aimed at children (as in 8 year old children), minimum deposit is like €5. I am not aware of any local laws that require banks to take all customers, there are certainly banks that require high minimum deposits (some into the tens of thousands).
Why is it that banking is so much better and cheaper in europe than in the US? In many places banks manage to serve the majority of the population and be profitable.

trash squad
Oct 21, 2013



NihilismNow posted:

Is this really the case? Over here most mainstream banks will let anyone with valid ID open up a bankaccount.

To speak to this, when opening an account with an American bank, your social security # is checked against one of several private databases (Equifax, for example). If you've had bank debt written off or sent to collections, for a bad check or overdraft fees, you cannot open an account until the debt is cleared - although of course you can still get high-interest payday loans, or pay a fee to cash a check.

This article cites 'over a million' Americans can't open an account for this reason.

Also worth noting that American banks engaged in rampant abuse of overdraft fees.

Slobjob Zizek
Jun 20, 2004


This is a really dumb proposal -- a solution looking for a problem. Checking accounts are already cheap or free if you make some minimum income (see here: https://www.chase.com/online/servic...cking_guide.pdf , Chase waives their fees for $500 direct deposit a month).

Raise the minimum wage or expand EITC if you are looking to raise the well-being of the poor. Creating a budget-neutral Post Office-based banking system is a cutesy, yet overcomplicated solution. This is a hipster policy proposal.

VitalSigns
Sep 3, 2011

I can feel you tremble when we touch...

So why are 68 million Americans without checking or savings accounts and reliant on expensive check cashing and payday loan services? Stupidity?

E: And why are you acting like expanding the EITC is somehow mutually exclusive here? If both policies would be positive, why not do both?

Ardennes
May 12, 2002

It is always about people.


Yeah postal savings is probably not a bad thing to do, it isn't going to solve that much but there aren't many risks either. Granted, if you want to save the Post Office, you would probably get rid of that ridiculous law that was passed that forces them to prepay health benefits decades in advance, the post office would actually be running a surplus if it wasn't for it. Basically, congress was and is still is trying to kill it.

(The Post Office's Deficit in 2013 was 5 billion, that law account for 5.5 billion in extra costs.)

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

this is me posting irl


Slobjob Zizek posted:

This is a really dumb proposal -- a solution looking for a problem. Checking accounts are already cheap or free if you make some minimum income (see here: https://www.chase.com/online/servic...cking_guide.pdf , Chase waives their fees for $500 direct deposit a month).

There are still companies that literally do not offer direct deposit. I work for one.

Arakan
May 10, 2008

After some persuasion, Fluttershy finally opens up, and Twilight's more than happy to oblige in doing her best performance as a nice, obedient wolf-puppy.

Slobjob Zizek posted:

This is a really dumb proposal -- a solution looking for a problem.

Bank deserts are the problem. How are you going to open a checking account when there aren't any banks where you live?

Death Bot
Mar 4, 2007

Binary killing machines, turning 1 into 0 since 0011000100111001 0011011100110110

Slobjob Zizek posted:

This is a really dumb proposal -- a solution looking for a problem. Checking accounts are already cheap or free if you make some minimum income (see here: https://www.chase.com/online/servic...cking_guide.pdf , Chase waives their fees for $500 direct deposit a month).

Raise the minimum wage or expand EITC if you are looking to raise the well-being of the poor. Creating a budget-neutral Post Office-based banking system is a cutesy, yet overcomplicated solution. This is a hipster policy proposal.

Not even a page in and you already missed

john stenham posted:

"America’s post offices are an ideal physical infrastructure for furnishing these services to communities currently neglected by banks. Roughly six in 10 post offices nationwide are in what the USPS report calls “bank deserts” — zip codes with either one or zero bank branches."

and

skaboomizzy posted:

The whole thing is worth a read, but the main points are that nations that have done this have shown major revenue increases in their postal services

which is literally the second sentence in the OP. Poor form, dude!

Paul MaudDib
May 2, 2006

My name is a killing word.


icantfindaname posted:

Why do you think Wal-Mart's banking services would be any different from a payday loan store?

Because a payday loan store is a business that solely deals with financial transactions, whereas Walmart can run it break-even or as a loss leader to get people in the door with cash in their pockets. Cashing a payroll check is essentially risk-free, so even if they're giving up a couple bucks in potential profit there the fact that a person is in the store and ready to spend probably outweighs it. Of course there's still the same incentive to raise fees as any business has, but big fees run the risk of damaging Walmart's market positioning as an "ultra cheap" place to do things and won't get people in the door primed to spend.

But the simple answer to your question is that a big-box supermarket/retailer and a payday loan store have qualitatively different business models regarding check cashing. You're not going to buy groceries at Cash N Go.

Paul MaudDib fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 21:54

Paul MaudDib
May 2, 2006

My name is a killing word.


Arakan posted:

Bank deserts are the problem. How are you going to open a checking account when there aren't any banks where you live?

There are online banks and credit unions with essentially open enrollment. ING Direct used to be a big one, I guess they're Capital One 360 now or something. It still doesn't help people with screwed credit or undocumented immigrants, but you don't really need a physical bank for much anymore.

Slobjob Zizek
Jun 20, 2004


Death Bot posted:

Not even a page in and you already missed

and

which is literally the second sentence in the OP. Poor form, dude!

The "bank desert" crap is unsubstantiated in the link posted, so I have no reason to trust the notion. And, as to your second point, it's totally abhorrent to run a budget-neutral bank funded by loans given to poor people. Not sure how you could defend that.

twodot
Aug 7, 2005
48. The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.

Slobjob Zizek posted:

The "bank desert" crap is unsubstantiated in the link posted, so I have no reason to trust the notion. And, as to your second point, it's totally abhorrent to run a budget-neutral bank funded by loans given to poor people. Not sure how you could defend that.
It's not unsubstantiated, the USPS Inspector General claimed it in a report citing their own and FDIC databases:
http://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/defaul...c-wp-14-007.pdf
I don't know why you would find this surprising, I think it's logical to expect there to be many more post offices than banks (and areas that banks don't feel are profitable).

Arakan
May 10, 2008

After some persuasion, Fluttershy finally opens up, and Twilight's more than happy to oblige in doing her best performance as a nice, obedient wolf-puppy.

Paul MaudDib posted:

There are online banks and credit unions with essentially open enrollment. ING Direct used to be a big one, I guess they're Capital One 360 now or something. It still doesn't help people with screwed credit or undocumented immigrants, but you don't really need a physical bank for much anymore.

And how do you expect the working poor to access these services? By using the public libraries computers or what?

Slobjob Zizek posted:

The "bank desert" crap is unsubstantiated in the link posted, so I have no reason to trust the notion.

https://www.fdic.gov/householdsurve...ankedreport.pdf

Slobjob Zizek posted:

And, as to your second point, it's totally abhorrent to run a budget-neutral bank funded by loans given to poor people. Not sure how you could defend that.

I don't see how saving poor people money by offering them more banking alternatives is abhorrent at all actually.

Arakan fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 22:02

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Paul MaudDib
May 2, 2006

My name is a killing word.


Arakan posted:

And how do you expect the working poor to access these services? By using the public libraries computers or what?

Well, you don't need any access at all to simply have someplace to direct deposit. If you go to an ATM and take the cash out you're done. These places have good ATM networks and worst-case you eat the $3 in ATM fees every two weeks, it's cheaper than check cashing places.

A lot of the other services can probably be accessed by phone (not even a smartphone). Like I said, if you need to handle a physical check for some reason you could mail it in, or yeah, you could go to your library for the few things you can't work out except online.

Really though, a computer with internet access is essentially a requirement for living in the United States in the year 2014. You're not going to be able to job-search effectively without one, they let you have access to resources that aren't physically available in your immediate vicinity, and basic computer literacy skills are essential in any job that isn't manual labor. Not to mention they're an incredibly cheap source of entertainment on par with TV. When you can buy a prepaid smartphone for $50 or a netbook for $100, it's not really the insurmountable barrier you're treating it as. Really we should be having Obama-laptops for the poor and homeless as well as Obamaphones, I see the two as essentially equal in importance for modern life. Something like the OLPC would be a good basic standard.

Paul MaudDib fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 22:12

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