Growing Our Common Wealth™
Campaign for Postal Banking Coalition Starts in Communities like Berkeley
by Commonomics Media Team on January 23rd, 2015

The Berkeley, California community has been fighting to save its post office from being sold off and privatized since the summer of 2012. The entire City Council, state electeds, and its Congressmember are opposed to the sale. The community has filed suits and passed zoning laws to keep its post office. It has held many protests, musical events, teach-ins, and a month-long encampment in tents on the steps.
Today the Campaign for Postal Banking, a coalition of national organizations, was announced. What does this important step mean for communities like Berkeley?
Adding basic banking to the services already offered by the post office will provide new jobs to the community and more income to the post office, making it more financially viable, helping it stay open.
Postal banking can replace predatory payday lenders, making poor people’s lives better, as well as bringing all the money they spend on fees and interest back into Berkeley to be spent at local businesses, which also brings home retail sales taxes. With the money they save by banking at the post office, they will need fewer social services from the city.
It is fitting to announce this Campaign on Martin Luther King’s birthday, because the post office was one of the first major employers of African-Americans, starting right after the Civil War. The USPS has historically provided decent-paying jobs to minorities. Underrepresented groups will benefit greatly from postal banking: half of Latinos and African-Americans, for example, are un-banked or under-banked.
It’s time to add postal banking to the toolbox of communities like Berkeley who are committed to saving their post offices.

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