Apparently the U.S. Post Office is in some deep financial doodoo. Contrary to belief, even my own mistaken understanding at one point, the USPS is not funded by taxpayer dollars. They are an “independent government agency” that operate on their own revenue, but are constrained by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. They can’t do anything other than postal services and can’t close branches based just on lack of profits.
So you can see why the USPS has been struggling. They’re basically a corporation that has to market itself, but can’t offer anything new offer than “We mail stuff”. They’re a retailer, but can’t shut down unprofitable shops. And they have to deal with at least 4 unions.
So they’re looking at losing about $238 billion over the next 10 years if they aren’t allowed to change their business model, but they do have a few options up their sleeve. For example, cutting Saturday service as well as reducing benefit costs for retirees can help them save $90 billion over the next 10 years. But they want to do more to get out of their hole.
The post office has 32,000 retail locations which is more than McDonald’s, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Walgreens combined, but they have almost no foot traffic relative to those named stores. So, the USPS wants to be able to attract new customers through initiatives such as banking and other services outside of delivering mail.
So the question is, would you bank at the Post Office? Granted, I don’t think the PO is looking into BEING a bank, but do you think having your bank inside the local post office would attract you to their location rather than one of the 50,000,000 other branches popping up on every street corner? What else do you think the USPS could do to attract more profit and foot traffic (outside of raising rates and cutting costs)?