The United States Postal Service wants to get back into the banking business — and Jamie Dimon appears eager to help.
USPS officials are considering a pilot program that would allow Dimon’s JPMorgan Chase to lease space at post offices for ATMs and provide other financial services at locations across the country, according to a memo obtained Wednesday by the Capitol Forum, a DC newsletter.
The pact could give Chase access to new clients at USPS retail locations which number more than 35,000 nationwide. It could also provide the USPS with some sorely-needed revenue as it faces a crushing, $160 billion debt load.
Advocates of a new postal banking system — which include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — see the USPS as an opportunity to serve the 25 percent of Americans who unbanked or underbanked. Between 1911 and 1967, the USPS offered savings accounts at low interest rates to provide Americans access to banks that they would otherwise not have had. Post offices still cash treasury checks and issue money orders.
Nevertheless, AOC — an outspoken critic of Dimon and JPMorgan Chase — last year made it clear that her version of postal banking 2.0 would be nowhere close to the JPMorgan pilot.
“We should have a not-for-profit public option for basic banking services,” she said the time. “And we should be piloting these projects through the US Postal Service.”
A spokeswoman for JPMorgan said the bank had talks with the USPS “several months ago about what it might look like to lease a small number of spaces to place ATMs to better serve some historically underserved communities.” Adding “These were very preliminary conversations – there is no agreement in place and no imminent plans to move forward.”
Newly-installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been in the eye of a political storm for weeks after removing mailboxes and mail sorters from post offices and cutting overtime to postal workers. Congressional Democrats pushed back hard against DeJoy and the USPS, charging him with weakening the postal service to hamper mail-in voting which has been targeted by President Trump.
DeJoy has since announced that the USPS will hold off on further cuts until after the election. But the JPMorgan pilot may come up on Monday when DeJoy goes before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, where AOC is a member.