Last week I mentioned a national savings bank, or a series of localised banks as an alternative to the current bail-out. Today MP Jon Cruddas proposed something that’s similar, but better, because it builds on an existing network with great local connections: turn the post office into a ‘People’s Bank’.
“With relative ease,” he writes, “the government could create a universal People’s Bank, based on the Post Office.” The Post Office already has 14,500 branches around the country, and it is a trusted institution, although some might argue its reputation has suffered some pretty serious knocks in the last couple of years. Nevertheless, 5 million people have Post Office cards and accounts already, and this customer base could form the foundations for a proper bank. “The core idea is simple: use the one state institution that can be found in most neighbourhoods and rural areas – the Post Office – to encourage small savings and a habit of thrift.”
Unfortunately we’re currently moving the other way, with branches closing and the business monopoly the Post Office has enjoyed being gradually removed. Sounds like a great idea to me though.