Washington Post - For more than half a century, from 1911 until 1967, the Postal Service also served as a bank. Customers could walk down the street to the post office with their money and deposit it in a savings account there.
The system made sense back in those days, when the country was more sparsely populated and banks were harder to find, but post offices were everywhere. Over the past 50 years, though, the total number of bank branches in the United States increased from 16,000 to 83,000. What's more, people visit the bank less frequently these days, given the ubiquity of credit cards and direct deposit.
Still, there are still relatively few banks in many impoverished urban and rural neighborhoods, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a big idea for turning post offices back into banks. That's because he sees them as a place where the 68 million low-income Americans who currently rely on payday lenders and costly cash checking services could manage their affairs less expensively. (And banking might help the beleaguered Postal Service's bottom line as well.)
Postal banking is still a part of everyday life in many foreign countries, including the United Kingdom and France, and the U.S. postal inspector general issued a report endorsing the idea last year. The report argued the Postal Service should consider not only opening savings accounts again, but also expanding into short-term loans and debit cards as well. Bricks and mortar