While Canada’s six largest banks earned more than $46 billion in profits in 2019 alone, they continue to abandon rural communities by closing bank branches because of low profit margins. Today, there are over 1,200 rural communities with post offices but no banks or credit unions. And only 54 of 615 Indigenous communities are served by local bank branches.
While hundreds of thousands of low-income Canadians don’t have bank accounts at all, about 2 million Canadians rely on predatory payday lenders for basic financial services.
Canada used to have postal banking until 1968, when the big banks successfully lobbied for the service to be cancelled.
Postal banking is relatively straightforward. Like the big banks you’re used to, post offices would provide everyday financial services like chequing and savings accounts, loans and insurance. Postal banking could also be used to deliver government loans, grants and subsidies to boost renewable energy projects and energy-saving retrofits.
In many countries, postal banking is also mandated to provide financial access for all citizens and to play a role in addressing social inequalities. Postal banking could provide reliable financial services that everyone needs at affordable rates.
By offering banking services through its network of over 6,000 postal outlets, Canada could overnight become the most accessible bank in the country. And revenues raised by postal banking could help pay for new expanded services.
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