News & Events

January

2019

17

Statement by New York Groups re: Postal Banking

FREEDOM TO THRIVE
LONG ISLAND PROGRESSIVE COALITION
NEW ECONOMY PROJECT
NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE
PAN-AFRICAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
PICTURE THE HOMELESS

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New  York community, labor, and civil rights groups are releasing the following statement regarding proposals to introduce “postal banking.” Check back for updated signatory list:

“Our organizations support the concept of ‘postal banking,’ as a potentially transformative form of public banking. As banks continue to redline New York neighborhoods – perpetuating poverty, inequality, and segregation – bold solutions are clearly needed. Some recently-introduced postal banking proposals, however, would exacerbate our two-tiered financial system and promote debt as a solution to people’s financial struggles.

Specifically:

  • We oppose postal banking proposals, including by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and others, that include a short-term, small-dollar lending component. Especially concerning are proposals that do not contain provisions for sound underwriting, fair debt collection, and other basic features of any responsible lending program.
  • Claims that postal banking would be an antidote to payday lending in New York are wholly misplaced. New York, along with 15 other states and D.C., has long banned payday and other usurious lending, through strong state interest rate caps.
  • Clearly, the postal service should be fully funded. Postal banking, however, should prioritize financial justice over the filling of agency budget gaps. Otherwise, pressure to generate revenue could lead postal banks to impose high fees and sell high-cost financial products. It would be disastrous if postal banking added to the array of extractive financial services that already plague low-income neighborhoods, immigrant neighborhoods, and neighborhoods of color.

Fortunately, New York is home to a robust network of community development financial institutions, including non-profit financial cooperatives and loan funds. Postal banking is not – and should not be proposed as – a substitute for democratically-structured, community-led finance. Rather, postal banking proponents should seek to complement and learn from these vital institutions.

Postal banking can help pave the way for public banking, more broadly, as we work to create a just financial system.”

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New York-based organizations interested in signing onto this letter should send an email to info@neweconomynyc.org.