David Lepper, Brighton Pavilion Labour and Co-operative MP, has spoken out in support of the concept of transforming the Post Office into a People's Bank. He has campaigned for new financial products and services to be made available from the Post Office and believes the time is now right to progress this idea.
David said, “Post Offices are a great British institution that has been part of our communities for over 300 years. I know how deeply people in our area care about the future of our Post Offices. That was shown in last year’s campaign attempting to save post offices.
“I have argued for years that there should be more financial services at the Post Office. I put this argument a couple of years ago when there was threat to the Post Office card account. Now new proposals could give people in the city access to a better range of banking products at an institution we trust and value.
“The Government consultation outlines a number of financial services that the Post Office could offer, including:
- Post Office current account
- Post Office children’s savings account – an account designed to encourage children to save through visits to their local Post Office.
- Post Office business bank accounts – currently the Post Office offers access to business accounts from a few High Street banks. It could offer increased access to business accounts from other providers, as well as its own business account.
- A weekly budgeting account – many low income households are unable to take advantage of the savings that can be made by paying for services by direct debit. One way to tackle this problem is by offering a simple account that could ring-fence a proportion of income each week, and then pay out bills by direct debit on a monthly or quarterly basis A closer link between the Post Office and credit unions: it can be difficult to access credit union accounts when people are not in their local area. The local nature of the Post Office makes it ideally placed to allow credit union savers to access their accounts across the country.
- Working to ensure all banks’ current accounts can be accessed at a Post Office – currently 60% of current accounts (around 25m accounts) can be accessed at Post Office branches. The Government wants more banks to allow their current accounts to be accessible at the Post Office.
The Government consultation will be available from ww.bis.gov.uk/postofficebanking.
Hard copies (including alternative formats) are available on request. Leaflets giving an overview of the consultation and information about how to respond will be available in all Post Offices.”
Pat McFadden MP, Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, added, “At a time when some banks and financial services companies are seeking to reduce face to face contact with customers, the Post Office stands out. It offers a trusted brand, and has more branches than the high street banks combined. It is ideally placed to bring banking services back to the heart of communities.”
Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, said, “Our consultation outlines exciting proposals, but I want people to have their say. This is an opportunity for communities to tell us what they want and need from their Post Office. Information about the consultation will be available in all of the network’s 11,500 branches.”
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