To coincide with the upcoming review of Canada Post’s services, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has launched a social media campaign to promote the return to a postal banking system here in Canada.
“Postal banks are an alternative to payday lenders, providing basic financial services to the millions of people currently excluded from access to Canada’s big banks,” said CUPW President Mike Palecek.
The Post Office Department – as Canada Post was known before incorporating as a Crown corporation in 1981 – formerly offered postal banking services, although this ended in 1968 after pressure from Canada’s banking lobby.
Palecek said a return to postal banking could generate revenue for Canada Post, which, in recent years, has hiked fees and cut services, including door-to-door delivery.
John Anderson, author of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 2013 report “Why Canada Needs Postal Banking,” said there are more than 60 countries, including most major European nations, that offer postal banking. What’s more, according to the report, banking services accounted for 25 per cent of all postal sales in the U.K. in 2013. In France, that number was 36 per cent, and in Australia it was 25 per cent of the country’s total postal revenue. In Switzerland, 54 per cent of the country’s postal profits came from its postal banking services.
Anderson and Palecek said a similar move in Canada would benefit rural communities, which are often many kilometres away from any banking services. In addition, the move could bolster Canada Post’s weakened financial state, acting as a saving grace for the struggling Crown corporation, Palecek said.