We’ve all been there. You can’t find any of your bank’s ATMs and so you pay extra fees to use a different bank machine. You find yourself in a rural community where the nearest bank is dozens of kilometres away. You miss a paycheck and the bank hits you with a large overdraft fee. You need to send money to your family and need to shell out extra to get it there.
Here’s the truth: it doesn’t have to be like this and the solution is far simpler than you may think.
Imagine a bank that’s always around the corner, from downtown Vancouver to rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Imagine a bank designed to serve all Canadians, no matter what their income might be. Imagine a bank that invests in your community instead of lining its owners’ pockets. Sounds impossible, right? It’s not. That bank is the reality in France, Great Britain, Brazil, New Zealand and many countries around the globe.
Imagine a bank that’s in every single post office, from coast to coast to coast. One that would serve remote and Indigenous communities left behind by the big banks. That’s what postal banking is all about: no-nonsense everyday banking, offered by the postal service, in more locations than all other banks combined.
Instead of closing post offices, cutting back services and laying off postal workers, Canada Post must find new ways of serving Canadians.
Yet two groundbreaking reports appear to recommend postal banking, one by the Library of Parliament and a secret study conducted by Canada Post itself, have lingered on the proverbial shelf during Stephen Harper’s tenure. With a new government and a postal review coming up, it’s time to dust off the idea of postal banking.
You may not remember - perhaps you weren’t even born! - but in Canada, postal banking is nothing new. For over a hundred years, Canadians could waltz into their nearest post office and open a savings account or cash a cheque, just like we do at the bank today.
Canada Post stopped offering banking services in 1968 and the banking industry it left behind would be scarcely recognizable today. Even the Canadian Bankers Association admits that “about 30 years ago, we had no fees…”
No matter what the big banks say about saving you money, Canadians now pay some of the highest bank fees in the world. Your monthly statement speaks louder than their advertising campaigns.
Meanwhile, bank executives are laughing their way to the nearest branch. Canada’s big banks pocketed a lofty $35 billion in profits last year. Where did it all go? Not into the pockets of their customers and employees. In fact, thousands of jobs were cut and transaction fees reached a historic high. Talk about a funny way of saying thank you! Canada’s postal bank could turn these disturbing practices upside down by investing in our communities, where it matters.
It’s time for a better kind of bank. That’s why we want to spark a conversation on postal banking. As Canada Post faces an uncertain future, we want Canadians to demand more, not less, from our postal service.
Learn more about postal banking and take action at postalbanking.ca
If we act, the next time you begrudgingly hand over $3 to withdraw a $20 bill might be your last.