We’ve talked a little bit about the Post Office and its potential as a ‘People’s Bank’. There are so many reasons why it’s a great idea, but the best reason for it is that it would be a socially inclusive bank. Three million people in the UK are unable to access banking services for one reason or another, those with a criminal record or a fixed address for example. Without a bank, it’s hard to get a decent job. The Post Office would be able to provide accounts for people the high streets banks wouldn’t consider.
Further, the banks have been closing local branches for years, streamlining their services and cutting costs. This has particularly affected rural areas, and the elderly. The Post Offices could bring banking back to vulnerable communities.
Unfortunately, the government is still considering cutting its stake in the Post Office, missing the opportunity. In response, a coalition of interest groups has launched a Post Bank campaign. You can now sign a petition to create a Post Office bank at the Number 10 site.
If the government doesn’t do it, Tesco looks poised to provide banking services instead. While this may reach a wide sector of society and be very convenient, it will be just as profit-driven and faceless as the banks we already have.