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Postal banking may soon be here! But there’s a catch

For many years now, progressive politicians have been recommending the return of postal banking, whereby post offices would provide basic banking services in their branches around the country. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand proposed the Postal Banking Act in 2018, and has reignited her push this year in light of Trump’s attacks on the service. Senator Bernie Sanders has also been championing it since at least 2014.

On Wednesday, The Capitol Forum first reported that a postal banking pilot may soon be underway—but with a twist that would alarm most progressive advocates of the concept. The USPS has talked to JPMorgan Chase about a proposal for the bank to put ATMs and other banking services in some post offices. That original report, based on an internal USPS document, indicated that it would take the form of a “limited pilot program” in “several states.”

JPMorgan Chase confirmed the discussions to Fast Company in an email. “We had very preliminary conversations with the U.S. Postal Service several months ago about what it might look like to lease a small number of spaces to place ATMs to better serve some historically underserved communities,” said Trish Wexler, chief communications officer for Chase’s consumer and community banking. “These were very preliminary conversations—there is no agreement in place and no imminent plans to move forward.”

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